I read an article written by my most glorious professor, Kelli Matthews. She really is glorious, I’m not sucking up to her. (Well, maybe. There’s a little bit of truth in everything, right?) Anyways, Scarlett Johansson is in some hot water at the moment because of her fallout with the NGO, Oxfam. Now why did this come about? Well, Ms. Johansson took an endorsement from SodaStream. Where is SodaStream’s manufacturing plant? The West Bank. What does Oxfam stand for? Human rights. Do SodaStream and Oxfam share the same moral values? Nope. Who was an ambassador for both? Oh you guessed it, ya girl, Scarlett Johansson.
Kelli’s post was pointing out the fact that this whole “entertainment PR” is much more than glammy red carpet movie premieres. Usually, entertainment PR means you’re dealing with all the worst aspects of the entertainment industry. People like actors/comedians/musicians/etc are all brands. Yes they are people, but they are brands. When you go see a Leonardo DiCaprio movie, you have an expectation because its DiCaprio movie. Its his brand that is selling the movie. (in addition to other aspects of course).
So what does entertainment PR do? It maintains the entire image of the entertainer. Since its the entertainment industry, you’re relevant for maybe a month at a time. Entertainment PR needs to keep you relevant for good reasons. Dumping a human rights NGO for SodaStream probably doesn’t look the best to the public. Then again, Oxfam isn’t featuring Johansson in Super Bowl ads. So who is keeping Johansson relevant right now? SodaStream. Entertainment brands sell on hype, buzz, relevance, and credibility. However, having credibility as an entertainment brand means you’ve done a damn good job for an extensive period of time.
This carries over to the music industry just as much as it carries into the movie industry. They do both reside in the entertainment industry. (So thanks Kelli, for internally laughing when I said I wanted to do music PR, lol) Something that damages a musician’s reputation that isn’t human rights related, is faking a performance. Now the interesting aspect about this is that it totally depends on the type of music. Pop stars can get handed a beat, lyrics, a melody, a choreographed dance, and then lip-sync the song to a…sold out arena. The pop music audience just wants a performance, they don’t care if its actually being sung or not. If they actually cared, lip-syncing likely would have gone out the window.
However Steve Angello, a Swedish DJ, and member of the super group, Swedish House Mafia, took some heat for faking the last 15 minutes of one of his sets at a music festival. You hear his mix changing songs without him actually touching anything. His defense? He needed his music synced with all the pyrotechnics. Valid reason. However, with DJs, people already question what they are actually doing on stage besides “pressing play”. This resulted in his entire DJ legitimacy being put into question. That puts his brand into question. There was some damage control for this, but in some people’s minds, he never recovered. Some people will forever see him as a fraud, due to one video on the internet.
That is the thing about entertainment PR. People who are brands, are alive for only so long. If your PR team can’t recover for one of your errors, your brand is as good as dead. You can lose your brand due to one antic. Its not a company with insurance and the like, actors/comedians/musicians are a single person, and buy like them due to their product. But since they are one person, one action can sink their image. With a company, its a nonliving entitiy. They get second chances. Most entertainment brands don’t. This is why entertainment PR is not all red carpets and paparazzi. You hold a brand’s life in your hands on a day to day basis.