Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Love her or hate her: Paris Hilton has created a brand for herself

Even if you aren't a fan of Paris Hilton, you've got to hand it to her: she created a brand. This brand is herself. Even when she gets bad press, people love to read it. And bad press is great for getting your name out there.

One thing about Paris is that she openly admits that she is a brand. And, she plays on it. For example, yesterday MTV aired Paris Hilton's My New BFF and Paris, Not France. The first is a reality show where Paris chooses a new best friend. Okay, so the concept's a little silly - competing to be someone's friend. Really, someone can have more than one best friend, and I think the winner probably signed a contract that says that Paris can dump them on TV in order to film a new season. (Example: the fate of season one Paris BFF winner Brittany.) In any case, the show allows a perfectly crafted Paris to show "true" emotions, while others create the drama. Even better than that, she gets to leverage her own power.

For example, Paris said her most embarrassing moment was when paparazzi photographed her getting out of a car, and then photoshopped a vagina where her green underwear were. First, I don't buy it for a second that it was her most embarrassing moment. She's had a sex tape, after all! However, it's amazing, and controlled, branding. She controls the media - it's her show! And fans and non-fans alike have watched it on MTV. And you know what? You kind of feel sorry for her for going through that! So, anyway, there's Paris, taking control of a situation and making you feel bad for thinking that she truly showed her coochie to the world - she's really a victim! Believe her story or not, it was very well played. Well played, Paris Hilton, well played.

Also, on Paris, Not France, Paris has some major PR positives:
- Involves her family. This is a major PR plus - it shows that they stand behind her no matter what.
-Talks about her sex tape. By discussing it, she takes back the power. She even covers for some of the mistakes that went into it. She gently disses Rick Salomon, and hints that the tape's release was illegal due to her age. (She said she was underage, obviously Rick said otherwise.) She also states that she trusted him. (She shows her volatile, human side.) She uses family values. (I took it off the shelves and ruined it because it was in a FAMILY store, not a porn shop!) And, she uses humor. (If I knew it would leak, I would have looked cuter!)

As for stuff she has her name branded on, it's such a win-win. Fans will wear her perfume and such because they are fans. Others may like it for what it is, and then sort of become fans. She makes millions, she makes fans, and most of all, Paris just wins.

You've got to give it to Paris - she owns it when she falls. She owns it when she wins. She owns it when she tries to trick people. (Remember that very short lived VH1 show where she gave away a necklace while lunching with a spiritual leader?) In any case, Paris has created a very strong brand. Strong enough that people will fight to be her friend...on TV. Men will wear heels, girls will make out with engaged strangers, and more. That's power - and Paris Hilton, she's got it.

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