How Brands Are #Winning In Advertising Without Really Getting Any Sheen On Them

Charlie Sheen may be “America’s biggest billboard,” right now, but there are ways to buy space on that billboard without getting any #tigerblood on your hands, as Ford and AMC have found out. Or more specifically, there are ways brands can end up #winning the ad game without risking the taint of having Sheen pimping for them.

Both Ford and AMC have bought the hashtag #winning over the past two days as a promoted trend, appearing at the top of the stream for the popular tag. Thursday evening Ford pushed its latest Focus, smartly using an avatar that’s a picture of the of the car and driving traffic to a videos of a road test in which drivers tried to drive one mile without looking at the dashboard.

The connections were not even implicit. Both Ford and AMC just put their ads where the eyeballs are, the way advertisers always have, and avoided any direct connection to Sheen.

Friday the Internet radio service bought the hashtag, and made its connection to the porn-loving crack-smoking winner more direct than either Ford or AMC had, by creating a Charlie Sheen radio station on its service (its the station formerly known as Cocaine Radio — no joke). Clicking the link played “My Michelle,” when we clicked over. It couldn’t get much more appropriate.

Providing a soundtrack to the story of the day is fine for an Internet radio station, and actually gave Songz the opportunity for an interesting use of Promoted Trends. Ford obviously was on more slippery footing, and risked a backlash if made it made any direct connection. Which serves to illustrate that Sheen, while his agency asserts that phone is beyond “ringing off the hook,” might not be the ideal endorser for every brand.

We’d really like to see a #tiggerblood tag promoting Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, though.