Ian Somerhalder, Nikki Reed surprise Emory business class

Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder visit an Emory business marketing class on April 1, 2015. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ian Somerhalder of "Vampire Diaries" fame and his fiance and "Twilight" actress Nikki Reed swung by a Goizueta Business School marketing class this morning.

They talked promotion and branding for about 15 minutes, then took a selfie with the class. The students were rapt but polite. Reed, sensing the low energy, jokingly suggested Somerhalder to "take off your shirt." He didn't but he was very earnest about pushing passion and telling the students to find topics they care about when it comes to marketing.

Credit Chevrolet and the celebrity marketing platform WhoSay for this supposed April Fools' joke pushing hashtag #BestDayEver. They promoted it as such though it lacked any actual prank elements. It was more of a pleasant surprise for a sleepy early morning class.

George Martin, an Emory exchange student who asked a question about how Somerhalder and Reed handle the relentless need to market themselves, said the class did perk up when the actors showed up. He said he had no idea they were going to show up but was familiar with Somerhalder because a girlfriend was obsessed with "Vampire Diaries." He was impressed with Somerhalder's confidence and smarts.

Somerhalder (who has a strong Twitter following of 5.7 million followers) pointedly observed that Martin was dressed in business attire, not normal student wear. Martin said he had a presentation later in the day, that this wasn't his normal 8:30 a.m. dress. "I will now forever be known as that guy who wears a suit and tie to class," he said bemusedly after class.

The actors subbed in briefly for marketing professor Manish Tripathi, who has been at Emory since 2008. He said he was asked by Emory to do this the day before. He honestly had no idea who Somerhalder or Reed were but found the whole exercise edifying. "It ties in with my class," Tripathi said. "Next week we'll talk about promotion. It's nice to see how it's done as a live example."

And it certainly upped his cool points with his students.

"You are my favorite professor," one student told him as she left class.

WhoSay and Chevrolet held similar promotions in New York with Olivia Wilde and "The Walking Dead" actor Norman Reedus plus Alec Baldwin in Los Angeles. They will put together some promo videos that should be available later today.

Somerhalder's hit CW show "Vampire Diaries" was one of the first shows to shoot in Atlanta after tax credits were sweetened in Georgia in 2008. It's currently in its sixth season of production with a seventh season guaranteed.


Ian Somerhalder does a selfie with the Emory business marketing class. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com
Ian Somerhalder enjoyed teaching so if he needs a second career... CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.