Thursday, January 9, 2014

Recent Celebrity Rants and PR Stunts Leave a Chill in the Air

Hurry up and get in like a lion, 2014. It's too damn cold to stand here holding the door open. Just yesterday it was -15 degrees and this weekend it doesn't look much better. I mean, the forecast is calling for much higher temps and a chance of rain, so there is that. But all in all, when the rest of the world starts labeling your area as "Polar Vortex," you know you are in some serious shit.


In other fun news, there is no time like this time (cabin fever) to read up on all the colorful news. Not the regular local news, weather and sports, mind you. The good stuff that gets stuck between your teeth like a tiny piece of gristle. You find it later and are so glad you did but could not believe you waited so long. That type. 

Like, the new story about Meryl Streep. Her rant about Walt Disney and his "alleged sexist and anti-Semitic views," said Oliver Gettell of the LATimes.com  Apparently, Streep attended the National Board of Review awards gala to present an award to Emma Thompson for her performance of the creator of Mary Poppins in "Saving Mr. Banks," a particular drama about how Walt Disney persuaded her to make the story into the classic it is today. 



Not one to stand down for the fight for equality, but come on Streep. Have you SEEN any of the stories that make up the Disney Empire? The mom never lives. The damsel in distress always gets saved by her hero. It's a formula Walt himself invented and one that never fails. So your rant is a dollar short and a day late. Not to mention the noticeable bad-timing for delivery of a message, when another rising female actress is receiving an award that did not go to you. 


And then there was Michael Bay at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. Big time show, big time stuff, big time people. You know the drill. Expensive setups, performance powerpoints set to music and incredible lighting displays and even more expensive celebrity endorsers of products but also brands and messages. Katie Couric, Sarah Silverman, Macklemore, John Legend and others made appearances next to products that won't hit the shelves much before Christmas 2014 if at all. Fancy costumes, pranks, branding jobs and jabs...all in a battle of escalating marketing and public relations costs to one up the next. 

One particularly clever point was made by Jean-Louis Carrara, a VP at SK C&C USA, who said in an interview with Olga Kharif of Bloomberg about CES, "It's so big, if you want to be noticed, you have to be out there." 

That's what Michael had to do. He had to be way the hell out there or he ran the very real risk of getting overlooked. He wasn't hired to produce the next mini-Transformer ala CES, though. He was hired to set up a brilliant introduction of a product so that everyone would talk about it later....like when it actually becomes available on the market. Wa-Wah. His task was daunting...or was it? He needed to dream up something spectacular and deliver it without a flaw, leaving people with a story worth sharing. Hmmmm...makes me think that's exactly what he did. 

And then, there is Dennis Rodman. It's less of a story, really, that some of us are following, and more of a desire to understand the legality of it all. And then, of course, there is the continued drama that which makes this human cartoon character so alluring. Is he joking? Is he for real? Is he really that stupid? Is he ever sober? The fact that he could be committing treason or acting illegally is less a piece of the story as is the fact that his life continues to be interesting well after his 15 minutes of fame Andy Warhol promised. How is that possible? 

Just today, Rodman's camp issued an apology for his latest rant, with him admitting that he had been drinking. My personal favorite part about this story is two-fold...that Chivas is the advertising partner to this piece of content (see image below) and that we are expected to believe that Rodman had been drinking. Alcohol should not be blamed for the level of incoherence and ignorance displayed. It had to be drugs, and really serious drugs at that. Rodman was as high as a kite when he flipped his lid with CNN's Chris Cuomo after being questioned about his friendship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, a rather unsavory individual, even compared to the likes of Walt Disney. 


And don't even get me started on Kraft Food's recent press release on a shortage of Velveeta. It's NOT EVEN CHEESE PEOPLE. I can't. I just can't.

So, the question is, how effective were these rants and raves or were they really much ado about nothing?