August 21, 2017

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Could Hollywood PR Benefit from some Transparency?

Could Hollywood PR Benefit from some Transparency?

We don’t cover a lot of entertainment marketing and public relations here at Media Bullseye. It is a different aspect of the industry, governed, it seems, by a different set of rules, and doesn’t seem all that willing to give in to the demands of transparency and honesty that new media is beginning to require from other practices, such as corporate and political PR.

The job of celebrity publicist must be thankless: fielding inane questions about romances and eating disorders, leaking stories about possible on-set affairs to drum up publicity for a film all while denying comment on your client’s personal life, dealing with countless trips to rehab, run-ins with the law, complaining of an overly aggressive paparazzi all while relying on the relentless exposure they provide, and (for those representing female stars) walking the line between promoting sex appeal while maintaining “girl next door” charm.

Case in point: Miley Cyrus poses topless in Vanity Fair; world clutches its collective pearls and a media firestorm erupts. Innocent Media Bullseye editor is bombarded with images of Cyrus on three different televisions set to three different channels while at the gym, as if going to the gym were not painful enough.

Am I the only one who thinks this entire scandal and the ensuing media circus was completely coordinated by a PR machine? Whether it was the publication, photographer, Disney or the teen starlet herself, everything about this story seems calculated. This is a media that loses its mind over grown women showing too much skin, was this reaction truly not anticipated? You can’t pose a 15 year old girl with a squeaky clean image in a satin bedsheet (though they are now claiming it was a satin stole) and rumpled hair and not expect anything less than declaration of a national emergency. 

Miley Cyrus may be a billionaire by the time she leaves her teens. Her Disney Channel show draws three million views a week, mainly from the tween demographic. Her hit concert movie last year grossed more than $65 million, and her 70-date national tour made even more than that. She has spawned dolls, a clothing line, makeup, fashion accessories, even galoshes. Which brings us to the question: how do you take one the most overexposed teen stars in decades and get her even more exposure?

Simple; it’s a formula as old as the hills: a good juicy sex scandal. Now, this girl is a Disney product and a minor to boot, certainly they couldn’t recommend or endorse anything too overboard. So how about a controversial photo-shoot with a world famous photographer?

If this move was calculated, it worked like a charm–a quick Google News search shows more has been written about the teen singer in the last week than in the entirety of the previous year. The media claims to be appalled at the same time it laps it up, and I’m wondering if we all know exactly how we are being manipulated, but just turning a blind eye.

Think back to the Paris Hilton “sex tape scandal” from late 2003. Leaking the tape mere weeks before the launch of the heiress’ new show, “The Simple Life” was an obvious ploy for publicity, and it worked. It always works. These sort of wag-the-dog tactics aren’t new, and perhaps I’m just a media cynic–but when will the Hollywood PR machine cut the crap?

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to get a straight answer about the scandal-du-jour for once? If there has been one positive result of the never-ending Britney Spears train wreck, it’s that she has embraced transparency. Until recently, she did not do much hiding behind teams of countless flacks and spin doctors, she unraveled right there in front of us. Was it disturbing and sad? Absolutely, but wasn’t it interesting to see a celebrity owning up to their problems in that way, especially with star after star going to the hospital for “dehydration” and “exhaustion” (when everyone with a brain knows that is mere code for “overdose,” or “nervous breakdown”).

Then again, the only way this onslaught of media manipulation will end is if we simply stop watching; and what are the odds of that happening any time soon?

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5 Comments

  1. swurrey@customscoop.com'
    Sarah Wurrey

    I don’t know, ABC news (owned by Disney) did run a big story on it, poor George Stephanopoulos had to actually talk about this, you could just see him screaming in his head about how there’s a presidential election and a WAR going on, and yet Hannah Montana was one of the top stories.
    Plus, I think they are protesting just a bit too much…some of their Disney princesses have worn less in their movies. Ariel even had a nude scene in the Little Mermaid! 😉

  2. scottypboston@gmail.com'
    Scottyp

    Sure this was probably calculated, but how much “smart” points can you really award her publicist? This girl stars in a wholesome family oriented show. Parents sit down and watch this stuff with their kids and have probably looked to Ms. Mini-diva as a role model for young Millie-Jane or Suzie-SomethingOrOther. Her career as a sex symbol could easily start young, it’s happened for others before her. But at what cost? If her fans start distancing herself from this behavior, is she enough of a star to start playing the sex symbol card (again at 15)? And a more family oriented question, if you have a 10 year old at home, how do you explain this?

  3. swurrey@customscoop.com'
    Sarah Wurrey

    Well, Britney was overtly sexualized from Day 1 of her career (her pop-singing career anyway), and always had legions of young girls as fans. I don’t think they started to drop away until she went on her whole crazy K-fed phase, and certainly now with her trainwreck phase.
    I’d explain to my 10 year old, if I had one, that sometimes people overreact to high heaven. I personally don’t see the photo as a big deal, I just understand the way our news media, especially entertainment news media, operates. Actually, my 10 year old wouldn’t hear a thing about it, becuase I sure wouldn’t allow her to watch E! News when she should be outside playing with friends. Haha…

  4. haileeClintonLe13590@gmail.com'
    Benton Mccumiskey

    What is the deal with Miss Hilton? Someone said someplace that she was going to be in a Guinness World Records book for the world’s “Most Overrated Celebrity.” As if! Can she act? Is she popular as a model? Double yuck! And getting out of prison early? Ms. Untalented skirting her accountability due to her terrific grandpa, or was it her celebrity standing?

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