The term ‘celebrity’ coined in 1849 to mean ‘famous person’ is now used more widely than ever. From Actors to online social media stars, celebrities are everywhere, as the lines between celebrity and ordinary people become more and more blurred, how can these people create their own brand and keep it when surrounded by millions all wanting the same thing? This essay will analyse and dissect how celebrities create their own brand and use it to project a very specific image of themselves to the world.
“The brutal reality of modern age is that all famous people are treated like celebrities by the mass media, whether they be a political figure, a worthy campaigner, an artist ‘touched by genius’, a series killer to Maureen of Driving School. The newspapers and television programmes responsible for their publicity do not draw any meaningful distinction between how they are publicised” (Giles D 2009). Drawing in on Giles’ opinion on how everyone in the public eye isn’t given a specific star like or newcomer status, the public are left to decide for their own what they think of the celebrity. This is where personal branding and social media come in.
The rise of social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram over the past decade, help portray the ideal celebrity lifestyle and create the well designed image that they want you to see, controlling public opinion on them. Creativity online is unlimited, this has never been more useful to help create a brand and use that for financial and social gain. The ever-growing convergence of journalism means that although celebrity news isn’t an entirely respectable form of journalism, there is a newsworthiness to some of the celebrity real-life exploitation. Celebrities provide a whole new realm of public attraction, idolising a lifestyle, envying the ‘no-job’ lifestyle and the casualness of housewives. Many are aspiring to be richer and flaunting their wealth for cameras that seem to suddenly care when you are rich.
Possible problems that can arise from this invasion of privacy conform to the Protection and reasonable expectation of privacy act, which Paul Weller used in 2014 to sue a magazine for publishing pictures of him and his children out celebrating a family event. Just because someone is rich or is famous doesn’t mean they want the celebrity lifestyle of being bombarded by cameras and paparazzi, but isn’t that what they signed up for? Kylie Jenner recently kept her entire pregnancy secret from the world until the day she gave birth to her daughter, the news was (possibly intentionally) announced hours before the Super Bowl. (God works hard but Kris Jenner works harder) Kylie’s new brand as a young-rich mother will not only make her more relatable to young mothers across the world but will give her the respect and acknowledgement of businesses everywhere as she continues to drive her billion dollar cosmetics company at only 19 years old.
When Anna Wintour became Editor in-chief of American Vogue in 1988, she envisioned a magazine where celebrities, not just the worlds most glamorous models, graced the multi-national billion dollar magazines cover to sell a new image of fashion and draw in a wider audience. The suggestion that celebrities are unworthy of their ‘well-knownness’ and celebrities on the other hand are (Giles. D 2000) highlights the brutality of the recognition people feel they need in the modern world to brand themselves as famous and not a celebrity. Endorsing celebrities as part of the fashion world was revolutionary as we were all watching them anyway, so why not put them in fashion magazines to drive not only their personal careers but the conglomerate Conde Nast company as well.
Beyonce’s campaign with Pepsi launched new ideas of celebrity platforms providing authenticity and a more personal connection to everyday brands. Although there is nothing natural about celebrity endorsements and the reality of branding, the idea that the more glamorous side of celebrity lives are relatable to consumers helps alter brands images and appeals to a wider audience. ‘According to a Marketwatch claim in Social Media Week, just one endorsement can spell an increase in sales by 4%, almost immediately. That’s why businesses, even small businesses would be foolish to resist the mere exploration of celebrity influencers to promote their brand.’ (Forbes 2016) The power of the celebrity is real and the more popular the celebrity, the more successful the endorsement statistically becomes.
Money lies where famous people lay, continuing their image and portraying their lives in a positive light to the public is a key to success in everyday industry. Ariana Grande’s switch from Disney teenager to international singer, charity worker and honorary Manchunian has changed her image but kept it a positive one. This marketing technique is what most companies, PR agencies and management teams dream of achieving. But staying in a positive light isn’t as easy as it seems. A single tweet can compromise a persons entire online reputation. “To be famous these days, it seems, an individual no longer needs any star quality or discernible talent, so the argument goes, can anyone become a celebrity.” (Lieve Gies 2011) Achieving a high ranking status (A-list star) is the biggest reason for celebrities in the public eye today to do anything they can to get their name heard. Other than financial and social gain there isn’t much else that drives the population to achieve more. Twitter is its own celebrity, the college made chat platform has changed the world of news and especially ‘breaking news’ allowing ordinary people to publish content at a rapid rate and get attention to this on a phenomenal, multi-national scale.
YouTube as a platform creates celebrities, in a new-age of stardom. Anyone can create a youtube but not everyone can gain millions of followers, an international campaign and feature on magazine covers. Zoella, a youtube sensation from Brighton in England, now has over 12 million youtube followers, making her one of the richest YouTubers in the world. Her makeup line launched early 2014 and featured on the front cover of Glamour as it launched its new edition. Controlling their own content from editing to clothing gives YouTubers complete creative control and is producing valuable online talent who cannot only create their own work, but completely design and alter it themselves.
Former glamour model turned I’m a Celebrity star turned Mum of the Year Katie Price is a branding maverick. Growing huge popularity in the glamour modelling industry at 19, falling in love on TV to singer Peter Andre and rebranding herself as Britains best mum is a prime example of celebrities growing themselves and changing their brand with them. Like Kim Kardashian, their not so respectable beginnings and press badmouthing allowed these women to turn their image around and create wholesome new looks for their brand and themselves. Rebranding of celebrities is an ever-growing industry of its own, new mothers change how they are known to the public in order to portray the calm collected image of a mum in business handling her life with ease. Something the general public can aspire to.
New media techniques allow people without agents or management to make a name for themselves. This is true with British reality TV stars Alex Bowen and Olivia Buckland. The couple met on ITV 2 show Love Island and have since branded themselves as a young, loving and respectable couple with full-time careers ahead. With a clothing company, Weekly shows on Good morning Britain and social media followings of over 10 million in total, the power couple used their own millennial knowledge on the power of social media to change audiences ideas that were created on the show to see them as adults making their own business.
In this essay I have concluded that fame and being a celebrity has altered over the past decade and now more than ever people are fighting for their right to be relevant in the media. Using new social media platforms, online promotion and rebranding of their already well known image helps stars to use their brand to create a new persona, a new resurrection of themselves. The specific style of every celebrities key images separates the famous from the well known and gives each one a time to shine.