How hip is Ashton Kutcher? The actor-angel has a hand in many of the hottest social media startups around (as well as some mega-losers) and he loves to do them favors. After Mr. Kutcher subtly pimped his investments without disclosure in Details comes this clever touch of realism: Mr. Kutcher’s tech billionaire character Walden Schmidt has two stickers each for New York startups Foursquare and Groupme on his–is that a Macbook Air?–laptop alongside stickers for his portfolio companies Flipboard, Chegg and Hipmunk. Anybody know what that other red sticker is for?
CBS was not pleased, Yahoo’s Trending Now reported, vowing to blur out the plugs in the future unless the companies pay for the exposure. Considering the value of an eyeball impression is still very much in debate–and 20,000 people already saw the brands anyway–we doubt many startups would pony up for the product placement. But Mr. Kutcher is still basically the man when it comes to abusing his celebrity and wading into the waters of FTC scrutiny in the service of startups.