Electronic cigarette companies love using celebrity endorsements, but sometimes the celeb choice can backfire. This week, Blu Ecigs faced major controversy as the CEO of the UK division revealed plans to shoot a video promoting Blu with none other than shock star Lady Gaga. Almost instantly, the news went viral and ecig opponents went crazy, accusing Blu of targeting children with the collaboration.
CEO Jacob Fuller gave a lot of details about Blu’s marketing plans in his recent statements to journalist Andrew Cave. He talked with excitement about the future of vaping and predicted that soon ecigs would even overtake tobacco sales. Then he went on to talk about Blu’s past celebrity endorsement strategies and gave some hints about the future. That’s when he dropped the bomb about Lady Gaga getting involved.
Cave recorded the interview and took numerous notes. He later released the verbatim quote from Fuller to the press. “In the US, Blu is working with Lady Gaga on a video with Blu in it. It’s a global video that’s going to allow us to piggyback on that brand exposure in the UK.” Fuller also discussed past celebrity involvement. “Kevin Spacey uses Blu eCigs on The House of Cards and it’s been on The David Letterman Show. As those episodes make it over here, we’re getting great UK exposure from that… Blu also uses actor Stephen Dorff as its celebrity spokesman in the US and he came to the UK for our launch.”
When the news broke that Blu was planning to shoot a video with Lady Gaga, critics were quick to throw accusations that the company was purposely targeting kids with the new advertisements. Past celebrity endorsements appealed to the 30-something set with older stars like Courtney Love, Stephen Dorff, and Jenny McCarthy. Most teens do not even know who these celebrities are, but the adults do! On the other hand, most kids are fully aware of Lady Gaga and her crazy antics.
Blu quickly responded to the accusations by claiming that Fuller’s statements were false and the company was not planning any involvement with Lady Gaga. Representatives from the UK and the US insisted that Fuller was misinformed, but this seems strange considering that he is the CEO. This brings up a few major questions for skeptical readers. Who is telling the truth?
It’s undeniable that Fuller made the statements because Cave has recorded proof. So who told him about the Lady Gaga project and why did he not check his facts before spilling such a huge detail during an interview? Maybe Blu was planning to collaborate with Gaga, but changed course after seeing the negative reaction at the mere mention of the project. Either way, it has created an awkward moment for Blu and the ecig industry.
What do you think really happened behind the scenes? Was Blu ever planning to work with Lady Gaga or was Fuller really just caught up in office rumors?