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Think global

8 Dec

I’m told that Biggins has won a TV show called I’m a Celebrity… Get me out of here! This has evidently passed me by, but appears to matter to many others in Britain.

What if we raised the bar and defined celebrity in global terms: who would appear in a list of the most iconic and recognisable living people around the world?

This exercise would filter out much of the media’s influence because this tends to be local rather than global (though Hollywood and the music industry would have prominent representatives, as would some global sports like soccer and motor racing). But I suspect the biggest reversal from the usual celebrity rankings would be the inclusion of political and religious leaders. Rank and titles would reappear as a sign of renown; age would gain over youth; men over women.

I’ve not done the research (has anyone?), but would expect the following to appear prominently on a global celebrity ranking (some titles matter more than the title holders):

  • The President of the United States
  • Nelson Mandela
  • The Pope
  • The Dalai Lama
  • Osama bin Laden
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Pele
  • The Queen of England
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury
  • UN Secretary General
  • Madonna, Michael Jackson or Mick Jagger
  • Bill Gates or Richard Branson

Stars eclipsed by celebrities

1 Feb

Madame Tussauds is to close the Planetarium, that fixture of the London visit. As communications manager Diane Moon explained on the Today Programme, ‘we’re a world obsessed with celebrities – and there’s nothing wrong with that’. It seems the planets can’t match the pulling power of stellar celebrities. The Independent reported this development yesterday.

The fall of spin?

15 Jan

I’m not yet convinced, just hopeful. The Observer proclaims the fall of the Hollywood spin-doctors on the back of an honest celebrity interview in Vanity Fair (good publicity for the glossy magazine, note). The availability of unbiddable gossip weblogs such as Gawker is another factor cited. Peter Himler has more on this at The Flack.

PR – or publicity?

27 Sep

Question: which PR person was profiled on the front page of a UK Sunday newspaper review section? Answer: Pat Kingley, ‘in many respects the most powerful woman in Hollywood’.

As gatekeeper to so many celebrities, she exerts control over the media that would be very damaging if she worked in corporate relations or public affairs. But it’s movies (a make-believe world), so her power doesn’t raise many eyebrows.

She’ll demand that her stars appear on the covers of magazines or not at all, that they have the right of veto over writers and photographers, that they get copy approval… She is rumoured to have have said to one editor: ‘Why do you get to decide who goes on your cover?’

I’ve been carrying the newspaper around since Sunday, so here, belatedly, is the link from The Observer on Sunday 25 September.

Disposable culture

7 Dec

Kate Nicholas of PR Week (writing in The Independent) casts a critical eye at the value of celebrity endorsement as another TV series celebrating celebrity comes to an end.

Fallen idol

22 Sep

At least David Beckham scored from a free kick to earn Real Madrid a much-needed win last night.

But Media Guardian speculates that his contract with another ailing name, Marks & Spencer, might be terminated early. It appears that Beckham is devalued as a celebrity now he’s less visible in Britain.

I’m sceptical about our obsession with celebrity and didn’t enjoy Hamish Pringle’s Celebrity Sells – an extended advertisement for big budget marketing communications.

Time waits for no brand

5 Jul

At least I had my say well before the Borkowski ideas factory got round to processing spicy Beckham sausage meat. But their approach is so much more eloquent. Time waits for no brand…