Celebrities are brands. The ones who last, like Mick Jagger and Madonna, are
those that are strategically managed over time, just like real brands. So,
with that thought in mind, let's look at the most recent travails of Paris
Hilton -- The Brand.
First off, Paris got famous without actually being good at anything except
being a celebrity, so it is more critical for her to handle this right
than other celebs. A great actor who goes to rehab is still a great actor.
A baseball player who hits 50 home runs and is then caught cheating on his
wife can go back and still hit 50 home runs the next year. Their fame comes
from being good at something, which is also where the love comes from. All
is forgiven, as long as you keep swattin' them homers. But what if the thing
you do IS being famous? Then your image is all you have. That is why this is
the make or break moment for Paris.
What are we to make of this prison thing? Firstly, she cries for her
mommy before she goes in. Then she appears contrite on Larry King and even
talks about finding god. A complete turnaround, and many would say one for
the better. That is true if you are looking for someone to marry your son,
but not if you are running Paris Hilton, Inc.
She has always been polarizing. Some love her, and some hate her, but we have always paid attention. The
problem with what she is doing now is that it makes her more like us. We
like people like us, we just don't pay money to see them or buy their
products. Her brand is about being an enigma. The girl with the
establishment last name who thwarts all authority. Now she is telling us we don't understand her. She really is nice, hard working, even straight and
sober for god's sake! And she wants to get married and have kids! Next
thing she'll tell us she just wants to be a housewife.
So now, what does she have? She still isn't good at anything, and now she's just like us, albeit with more cash and a famous last name. How boring. Paris, you better get back to your old self before they give away your franchise spot on page 3 of the tabloids!