Every time I meet with a new client or potential client or offer my services on a brand consultation I get the exact same question- “How do I get my product into the hands of a celebrity?”. Well this quickie post is not going to divulge that info but I wanted to just say that sometimes it’s not all that it is cracked up to be. The celebrity buzz that is.
Recently some HOT news came across my desk for one of our clients. Their product was gifted by a very close friend to a very A list star who is about to give birth any day now. We ran with the info, never selling out the gift giver as they were a paying customer but definitely wanting to “cash in” on this info (this is after-all why they pay me). This was the first time that I have ever experienced the backlash of celebrity buzz and let me tell you- it’s not pretty.
One editor (well if you can call them that) took the info, distorted it and then started ripping in on the product. This may be a rare case and I do think that it is, but client beware. You ask for celebrity buzz, you get it, you have to deal.
It is the media’s job to sensationalized. Report to their readers that such and such celebrity bought the product themselves when in-fact they didn’t, sensationalize your product to death and sometimes because they are editors and don’t necessarily care about if you make sales- put it in a negative light without even meaning to do so. In the end the old addage, Any Press Is Good Press really does apply. Even if people are talking trash they are still talking, however it can make you want to cash it all in and curl up into a ball. All for what? Because MAYBE that celeb will be seen walking down the street with your product? Is it worth it? What if your product isn’t the ‘walking down the street’ type? What if it’s a children’s book or a photo album or a music CD or a DVD or a private item that would be used only behind closed doors or under clothing such as a nursing gown or high tech bra?
This particular client has taken the last week and this craziness and ridiculous sensationalizm of her product very well, because she mature, a great businesswoman, and knows that this is how it can sometimes go. Plus she is going to laugh her way to the bank in the end.
However like I said- be careful what you wish and ask for from your PR firm in regards to the whole celeb buzz thing. Any good PR firm is going to run right out and get you what you want or at least break their ass trying. Also be wary of being sued or receiving pissed off emails from celeb clients that you sell out if you were to go that far. I would never sell out a paying customer who is a celeb but that is just me. Therefore I have never seen a lawsuit or negative email cross my desk but think about it- it could happen. If the editor in the style section of your favorite celeb rag mag decides to publish the story and embellish or sensationalize you could be in a heap of trouble (sure they could too but they are in trouble all of the time). Always try and see the text copy before it goes to print. There is no harm in asking.
That is all for today’s advice column. Are you a designer who has questions about PR? I can answer them on this blog when I get free time (ha ha – no seriously, sometimes I am up in the middle of the night so I will try then).