> why do companies think having this person shill their products has any marketing value?
Because it is incredibly obvious that it does have value?
> This reminds me of famous people who are famous simply for being famous.
Almost every "celebrity" is primarily famous as part of a self-reinforcing feedback loop. Tom Cruise doesn't earn the paychecks he does because of his unparalleled ability to convey the subtle interplays of emotion. :)
> Has everyone just gone nuts?
The only interesting question, I think, is why people follow Platco on snapchat; everything else follows. I've never heard of him before, but I am familiar with the concept, and the answer is probably because he's funny, engaging, attractive and/or relatable to his audience. No different than any other celeb.
I'm not calling bullshit on you, but I'd love to read more about this.
> Famous Roman gladiators, who also attained celebrity status through specialized types of fighting, were known to endorse products. too; some of these endorsements survive in ancient frescoes and wall graffiti. Ironically. the makers of Gladiator downplayed this historical angle on the assumption that modern audiences would not believe it.