The golden globes had an unlikely star this year – Kelleth Cuthbert, a model at the event’s red carpet holding a tray of Fiji Water bottles. Given her prime position on the red carpet, Cuthbert spent the evening ‘photobombing’ various celebrities as she posed behind them with her tray
Dubbed ‘Fiji Water Girl’ by the internet, Cuthbert was later found to be an LA-based Canadian model with a degree in social work. Cuthbert quickly became an internet sensation with #FijiWaterGirl going viral on social media. Cuthbert’s epic photobombs resulted in praise on social media for her ability to insert herself into a number of celebrity red carpet photos at one of hollywood’s biggest events. APEX Marketing estimates the stunt could have raised $12 million in impressions.
Since the Golden Globes, the hashtag #FijiWaterGirl has been used around 10,000 times. FIJI Water responded to the success of their marketing tactic on Twitter:
“We’re so glad everyone is talking about our water!
*senses ominous presence*
She’s right behind us isn’t she? #FIJIwatergirl”
Impressively, even during a night full of highbrow celebrities Fiji Water Girl was able to stand out and make an impact. FIJI Water has been an official sponsor of the event since 2015, however this is the first time the water company has created serious buzz around the globes. FIJI obviously took this opportunity to create more buzz by retweeting the various #FijiWaterGirl stories on social media.
“I would have to assume it was planned in part, or at least a goal to identify photo opportunities, but you could never plan that level of result”, said Heidi Modarelli-Frank, partner and SVP of public relations at Marcus Thomas LLC, a public relations firm. “It takes special talent and an openness on behalf of the brand to allow the talent to have some freedom in how she executed.”
Brian Salzman, CEO of relationship marketing agency RQ, said, “It gave them a personality. This is a great example of how a brand can stand out within a saturated market and position themselves as cool and humorous.”
Jeff Ragovin, Chief Growth Officer for a branded content platform Social Native, said, “It makes Fiji more than just a product, it’s now an inside joke, a social sensation, the ‘cool’ brand that people want to be associated with. Evoking emotions from consumers is key to standing out in the competitive landscape where social trends dominate buying behaviors.”
However, not everyone was impressed with the Fiji Water Girl. Dr Chris Galloway, head of public relations at Massey University, considers ita cheap marketing ploy. “So people may be talking for 24 hours about this stunt and then we’ll forget about it, but if you’re really wanting to promote a brand effectively you need to do it over a period of time and keep reminding people about the key aspects of your product or service that you want them to hold on to and ideally act upon,” said Galloway.