Bone-head Move

Extreme vetting…good thing or bad?  For brands & influencers alike it is always a good thing and something that should have happened post debate before trying to cash in on Ken Bone, the red sweater-wearing, meme in the making, CNN declared “winner” of the second presidential debate. For shits and giggles I even posted my favorite Ken Bone, Thugs-n-Harmony meme from CNN^.

America seemed to love Ken Bone for his “bold” fashion statement that was revealed later as his “Plan B” outfit after he literally split the pants of his olive suit before the debate.  Whether it was his outfit, his disposable camera, his mustache OR his name, America seemed to be endeared to him to the point that one reporter simply described Ken Bone as a “hug”.

However quicker than you can say Andy Warhol, “Ken Bone has gone from internet fame to internet shame, unfortunately for brands capitalizing on his 15 minutes,” according to Advertising Age.*  Can you say Google search?  Can you read a couple of blogs or reddit posts before hiring him to represent your brand?  Apparently, saying AND doing extreme vetting (because of the Donald) has had an adverse affect on brands that they simply did not check out America’s new “hero of the day.”

What would brands like eBay have found? Mr. Bone was exposed as apparently having an appetite for pregnancy porn, hacked nude celebrities and defending the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

As a manager of “influencers”, part of the mutual, vetting process (yes, the influencers should also vet the brands before entering into a partnership) that we promote to our clients is to make sure the people you choose to represent your brands are consistent, authentic, and relevant to your brand beliefs and objectives. In this same Advertising Age article, Baker Lambert, global data director at TBWA Worldwide went on to comment and support a vetting process for brand and influencer marketing partnerships: 

"Any marketer that is using data well can and will take five minutes to vet any potential influencer before they work with them to easily avoid problems like this. When brands try to capitalize on meme culture like this they run an extra risk if they use a paid promotion approach, as it can convey an implied endorsement of the meme or influencer to the public."

Although eBay wasn't working with Mr. Bone directly, it made an Imgur post highlighting all the Ken Bone-ish items available for sale, such as red sweaters, that would make a good Ken Bone Halloween costume.  Hopefully this bone-head tale is a cautionary one to brands and debate participants alike.

Peace and Love,


^Ken Bone Thugs-n-Harmony Meme: