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?