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Gladiators in ancient Rome endorsed products. There's nothing new about people who other people pay attention to being paid to recommend a product, nor any question as to its effectiveness.

> 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.

> Gladiators in ancient Rome endorsed products.

I'm not calling bullshit on you, but I'd love to read more about this.

I can't find a primary source on this (and Googling along the way was reminded how broken the internet is with generated content...) but there is this - http://faculty.uml.edu/ethan_Spanier/Teaching/documents/Cyri... (it's chapter 9 of this book - http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1405110422... )

> 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.


There's even the Latin equalivalent of "For a good time, go here" on the Coliseum.

Whether that is true or not, those gladiators earned their fame the hard way. I Wonder what hardships a Snapchat influencer has to endure on the road to fame?

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