LOS ANGELES: "Fiji Water Girl" Kelleth Cuthbert’s photobombs at Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards were not part of the brand’s plans for the awards show, but it isn’t exactly disappointed that the model’s posing resulted in a viral sensation.
"We don’t specifically tell the Fiji Water brand ambassadors to look at the camera; we just tell them to be themselves," said Clarence Chia, VP of marketing and e-commerce at Fiji Water, via email. "[Cuthbert] is such a natural in front of the camera, the photos took off."
Cuthbert stole the show as a promotional model for Fiji Water during the pre-awards red carpet program, standing in the frame behind celebrities such as Constance Wu, Julianne Moore, and Darren Criss while smirking and looking at the camera.
Her presence did not go unnoticed. Both #FijiWaterGirl and #FijiWaterWoman were trending on Twitter from Sunday night through Monday morning. The photobombs went viral on social media, and Cuthbert was covered by outlets including CNN, People, The Washington Post, HuffPost, Fortune, Time, BuzzFeed, E! News, and the Daily Mail. She has also appeared on "The Late Late Show with James Corden" and "Good Morning America."
"We’re thrilled that Fiji Water has become a viral sensation, and it has exceeded our expectations," Chia said, when asked about the internal reaction to #FijiWaterGirl’s unexpected virality.
Chia said it is too soon to tell if #FijiWaterGirl led to an uptick in Fiji Water sales. Fiji Water earned the equivalent of $12 million in paid advertising spend at the Golden Globes across TV, radio, digital, and social media mentions, marketing analytics firm Apex Marketing Group told Yahoo News.
Fiji Water was the official water sponsor of the Golden Globe Awards. Fiji’s in-house marketing team is responsible for maintaining a presence at high-profile events, including major award shows, international film festivals, and movie premieres, said Chia.
"We look for brand ambassadors who have style, confidence, and professionalism to represent [Fiji Water] with A-list celebrities," he added.
Not every celebrity is a new fan of Cuthbert. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis said on Instagram that the red carpet stunts by Fiji were "blatant promotion" that she didn’t sign up for and that brands should ask permission instead of photobombing.
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So, my husband, who doesn’t look at a lot of show business news sites, just mentioned that I was on the CNN website. I specifically moved away from the blatant promotions by Fiji and Moet where young women with their trays filled with their wares stood near a designated camera. I knew why there was a photographer poised there and I moved away as I said out loud that I didn’t want to be doing advertising for either. Clearly this angle shows that I moved from her being behind me and yet from the side it still happens. The sponsors of events need to get permission from people when they get them to take their picture next to products.
Since the Golden Globes, Fiji Water’s social media team has been placing Cuthbert’s images in the backgrounds of famous scenes from movies such as "Star Wars," "Rocky," and "Thelma and Louise" and posting them on Twitter.
On Tuesday, 5W Public Relations created a social campaign to offer Cuthbert a job working on guerilla marketing.
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@kellethcuthbert stole the show at the Golden Globes. Her innovative attitude and entrepreneurial spirit are the traits we love to see in 5W employees. Looking for a job in PR Kelleth? Let us know ?? . . . #publicrelations #pr #marketing #prnews #goldenglobes #fijiwater #pragency #entrepreneur #innovation #innovators #instagood #instadaily
The Wonderful Company, Fiji's parent company, also owns brands such as Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Halos mandarin oranges, POM Wonderful, Justin Wine, and floral delivery service Teleflora.