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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 17 February 2019

Mohamed Salah stars in a charming new video but his social media is now just one big DHL advert

The Liverpool striker has spent the week promoting the delivery company

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah has starred in a new DHL advert. Action Images via Reuters
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah has starred in a new DHL advert. Action Images via Reuters

It's been a strange past seven days or so for fans of Mohamed Salah.

He's adored by millions for his heroics for the Egyptian national team and for Liverpool in the English Premier League, plus he's regarded as one of the "good guys".

So for those followers who hang on his every word via his social media accounts, they will have been left somewhat perplexed by recent events, which have culminated in a new video in which Salah is the star turn.

OK, so bring us up to speed...

It all started on January 22 when Salah posted a cryptic tweet stating "2019 Resolution: Time to get in touch, for real."

This was followed a short time later by the deactivation of both his Twitter and Instagram accounts. His followers were understandably concerned and voiced their confusion at the sudden exit. It came at a time when Liverpool were in Dubai on a warm weather training camp and the whole squad were on a social media blackout, but there was still no obvious reason for it.

He then reappeared...

On January 25 he was back on social media, grinning over a big yellow DHL box and his fans rejoiced at his return.

The company had earlier posted that it had reached Salah and "could connect you to him", so fans were getting a hint at what was going on.

That wasn't the end of the DHL thing...

Absolutely not. He's now posted another DHL advert – this time an epic video advert lasting more than three minutes, with the caption "Getting in touch, for real".

So, everything that's gone on during the past week has been one big marketing ploy.

The video is very nicely done, with Salah announcing that "social media is great" in the first clip, which is set in what is supposed to be his house (unless it actually is?).

He adds: "But when you touch something for real it's a different feeling, it's a real connection. You connect with it physically and emotionally. It's not just another photo that disappears into a cloud."

It then features fans discussing how they wanted to create a personal gift that he could hold but they couldn't reach him. Cue DHL coming to the rescue. And it then turns into a real tearjerker as he sends them each a gift in return.

How has it been received by his fans?

They are loving it, with many saying how emotionally moving they found it – and some even admitted to crying.

Away from all this emotion, what's the bigger picture?

Well, Salah is making the most of his commercial value, that's for sure. And why shouldn't he? Footballers have a short career, and he is well known to provide financial support to organisations back home in Egypt, so if he wants to make as much money as possible then we say good luck to him.

As for social media, it feels a shame that the accounts of one of the world's top footballers have become no more than an advertising portal – for now at least.

In this era, there is a huge disconnect between football fans and their wealthy heroes, and social media has been a way of bridging the ever-increasing gap.

But the ties are somewhat cut when the social media star stops addressing the fans, disappears and then returns to promote a company's goods.

In this instance, it doesn't appear that any damage has been done, and Salah will continue to be worshipped from afar however he treats social media.

Going forward, however, if sports stars and the like are going to start blurring personal message with advertising, they should be prepared for some push-back from their followers.

Updated: January 28, 2019 11:33 AM

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