September 9th, 2007
Most of my marketing friends have not had the experience of managing actual, living people as “brands.” What must that be like?
Do you remember when Tom Cruise fired longtime PR agent-to-the-stars Pat Kingsley, replaced her with his sister and proceeded to transform into a lunatic? Who can forget his assessment of psychiatry on Today or his couch-leaping action on Oprah? Of course, this means that Cruise had always been a nut and Kingsley had been earning her fee for a long, long time. And then there are the poor souls who manage Lindsey and Paris and Her and Him and…
Consider this. You are a marketer at P&G or Citibank. Things happen, sure, but you don’t have what must be a particular kind of fear that you will awake on any random morning to see your brand of paper towel or toothpaste humiliating itself at the Chateau Marmont, falling down in the street or driving drunk for the upteenth time without a license. Since I began running sales and marketing for Time Warner’s DC Comics division, there hasn’t been a single night that I sat home, worrying that Superman was out with Catwoman, getting drunk and punching paparazzi. (But that Green Lantern?? Don’t get me started! I’m kidding)
I thought of all this when – right after my post on the wholesomeness of Disney’s High School Musical franchise – the movies’ lead actress was forced to admit that a very nude photo of her on the Internet was indeed her in a “private” moment (I can’t bring myself to offer a link – check out PerezHilton). Of course this is not Disney’s or her manager’s fault, and if Ms. Hudgens didn’t tell them they could not have known of the photo’s existence – but what kind of antacid goes with this kind of moment? Oy.
So the next time you look at your lawn care product samples and long for excitement, imagine that you’ve changed careers and you’re happy. You and your product’s celebrity endorser, Clay Aiken, have worked so hard since his run on American Idol. Sure, the constant questions about his personal life make it a little challenging to build him up as a teen girl heartthrob, but you just know that his huge talent will prevail. You lean over, give your Clay Aiken bobblehead doll one more tap on the head, and fall asleep.
Then you wake up and turn on the tv/open the newspaper/fire up the Internet. And at that very moment, Lawncare never. Looked. So. Good.
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