When looking into the world that is Hollywood and more importantly the people that constitute this world, celebrities, one question has to be answered first. What exactly is a celebrity? This is becoming an increasingly difficult question to answer and a question that can be answered in many forms, and dispersing angles. Celebrities in today’s media world can simply be the boyfriend of a hot model, or the relative of the girl who is dating NFL sub-par running back Reggie Bush (Kardashian Sisters).
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You understand the point. It does not take much to be a celebrity in today’s society. With social networking sites like Twitter, Myspace, Youtube, and Facebook peoples route to a celebrity like status can be reached very easily, and does not always constitute productivity or talent. Yes, people have used these new channels as a way to showcase talent, like stars such as Colbie Collait, who have used Myspace as a springboard into record deals. Her website even claims her to be the “first true myspace. com discovery”(Caillat).
But on the ladder side of that success take a look at Brian Collins, who has gathered over 4 million hits on Youtube for his famous debacle of a local Indiana sports broadcast (Boom Goes the Dynamite 2006). Is it not a far stretch to consider him a celebrity too? Yet he is not in a traditional celebrity form that is indeed ‘celebrated’. For the contents of this paper trying to establish reasons for celebrities over arching power in today’s capitalistic world, it is going to take a deeper look into what a celebrity actually is.
This paper is focused on celebrities who have used their power to dive into different careers, and become global icons. Celebrities who gain and demand the constant attention of the media are certainly people who we celebrate. These types of media age icons of whom we continue to call celebrities are people who transcend their niche markets and are known to the global widespread audience. Using the music industry as an example, the band Death Cab for Cutie, a personal favorite, is a popular alternative indie-producing band.
Death Cab for Cutie is popular within its genre, and niche audience, but not to well known outside of that small bubble. Than examining someone like Kanye West who dubbed himself the next ‘king of pop’ who is originally a rapper, or what he would consider ‘preacher’ has done so much for music, and has pursued other career agenda’s that have transcended him outside of the rap niche and is known by all citizens with any media intelligence. This is the true subject related focus for the paper.
How have these megastars been able to travel across different markets not only in their original niche industry but across others such clothing lines, TV shows, product advertising, political agenda’s etc? The answer lays within us the consumer, and the new age media models. We as consumers give them the ability to have this power along with the increasing amounts of media attention celebrities are receiving. Particularly thinking about the easier way it is to garnish attention in today’s audience networking-centered world.
It seems as though celebrities have remained the stagnate powerhouses of the drastically changing landscape, but how have they done it? To understand these questions, and to provide answers it is key to establish the power that celebrities have on society and their ability transcend and integrate across media platforms, through their influence and power. Secondly to portray how the use of that power has been taken advantage to create this brand that is Celebrity. It is certain that celebrities have large influence in the complicated media landscape.
Today you cannot spend 15 seconds of the day without some sort of advertisement pushed down your throat. In fact 20% of all advertisements placed on TV in 2006-featured celebrities (Story). This percentage is undeniably growing. Certain advertisements are featuring celebrities in new venues, such as the commercial sponsor for a product. For example, Ashton Kutcher’s series of commercials for COOLPIX, or music icon Sean Diddy Comes sponsoring his own vodka brand, Ciroc vodka. This is the new trend in celebrity marketing, and is definitely gaining them exposure, more importantly capital.
These types advertisements sit aside from the natural movie trailers, or random products that are commercialized with megastars who seemingly now dominate the commercialized world. Justin Timberlake and Peyton Manning featured in a series of commercials for selling High Definition Televisions for Sony. Not only are celebrities everywhere on your television sets, but they also have power in the political landscape as well. “Celebrities—people who are’’ as Daniel Boorstin put it, “well known for their well-known ness”—are more celebrated than ever” (Robinson).
Once they rise to national or global renown, whatever the reason, their fame becomes a kind of capital that can be converted into money or political influence (Robinson). We experience the acts that Bono has done, putting African support on the map, or Angelina Jolie’s UNHCR pushing improvements for the Worlds Child Refugee’s (Dalia). Not to mention the large amounts of celebrities who are pushing global climate change, and other global issue campaigns that we learn about through television, film, and advertisements.
In this same article the author notes another strong point when talking about the ability of a powerhouse celebrity to create a section of the public who can share common interests, and experiences through simply by being invested in the similar subjects (Robinson). It can be said that today’s celebrities are a constant bond in today’s diversifying Internet aged world. They are the shared experience in a communication world that is becoming increasingly individualized. We can go through many different mediums to watch TV, but we cannot change who is promoting it, or starring in it.
With cable, film, and basically all communication networks promoting to the niche audiences, it is the celebrity that is the common mold transcending above our niche interests. There faces are everywhere you look. Furthermore all it takes for Celebrities these days to reach their audiences on a more personal level is social networking cites like Twitter, or Facebook. The number of celebrity twitter accounts is large, and creates massive followers. Athletes twitter messages have even been the topic of Sportscenter conversation.
This is another way for celebrities to market themselves to larger audiences; more proof to say that there appeal has never been stronger. Celebrities are well aware of the power they possess. They globalize themselves, and soak up all the attention they can receive to market themselves and create their own brands. Brands that can push political agenda’s, endorse products, market clothing lines, and promote own individual work, the possibilities are endless. It’s always been known that celebrities have had huge impact on the fashion industry.
Whether its Sean Diddy Comes producing clothing lines, Michael Jordan promoting his shoes, or Paris Hilton promoting her handbags, its always been an interest, but they are becoming ever so powerful. By an article labeled STAR POWER the editor of GQ was quoted that celebrities directly affect fashion in a big way, claiming, “From a designers standpoint, celebrities validate trends”(Cotton Incorporated). Even more straight forward “Celebrities are our new designers,” said Irenka Jacobean, editor-in-chief of Accessories Magazine “The Red Carpet is our new runway” (Cotton Incorporated).
The Hip-Hop community clothing lines have left their own stamp on celebrity brands. Rappers such as Eminem, JAY-Z, Sean Combs, and Snoop Dogg all have their own original clothing lines (Nellis). Clothing outlets like Macy’s have had half their clothing outlet be those brands (Towle). So now rappers have power over retail clothing stores, how does this make sense? When researching into any advertisement-affected market, which we all know is almost everyone; the celebrity affects every single facet of the market in some way. They are entering into every communication media platform and becoming the face of advertising.
In a Hollywoodreporter. com magazine article the author notes that the line between person and brand is blurring. Celebrities have employed corporate techniques in their ability to mass market, and have been able to protect a brand, and individual identity, marketing and licensing products (Towle). This is all because in the current media landscape they have the most commonality, the most shared experiences that we experience in the media world is through the celebrity identity, that is than consumed by the consumers in an ongoing cycle.
Oprah Winfrey is a prime example, she made an estimate of 275 million dollars last year (Forbes). Her show has garnished worldwide attention for years, and whether she is promoting a book, or backing a political candidate, her voice is heard, and her power is overwhelming. She was rated the second most powerful celebrity in the world by Forbes magazine only behind the possibly the world’s most famous women these days, Angelina Jolie. Who is also pushing her own brand as exampled earlier in the paper, not to mention her box-office success?
Her latest thriller Wanted in which she starred gathered 35 million dollars in its first weekend in box office revenue (Administrator, box office). Surprise No? She has also been recognized on more than one occasion by the Academy, and been pushing political agenda’s with effectiveness for years, as noted earlier. It’s obvious that celebrities have been able to build power and furthermore build on their power. Taking advantage of every opportunity they receive.
These people are the faces of our national media, and the focused icons of our time. Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, Kanye West, Lebron James, Brad Pitt, Sean Combs are all icons within the public sphere in which anything they say, or do does not go undocumented. The opposite end of undocumented, news about these figures is nationally recognized, and celebrated. Through the increasing amounts of brands that have become the celebrity, this putting on of a public face, can also be detrimental to their image if not treated carefully.
While the media is watching your every move, making sure your public image is always being “celebrated” and not getting in trouble with the law, or acting out of line in public is ever so important to keeping the brand successful. Though he was able to bounce back, Kobe Bryant a world-renowned basketball player lost plenty of endorsements and money after he had been accused of rape in Denver, Colorado. He lost commercial time and was dropped from many endorsements including McDonalds, and Nutella an Italian hazelnut spread (Duncan).
Though all the coverage these icons receive, every facet of their lives becomes important in maintaining mass appeal. The true powerhouse megastars have been able to keep their strong, influential public images along with intuitive self-promoting advances to create their brands. It is the brand that is celebrity that has been created through these powerhouse megastars who have been dominating the advertisement world. They have been able integrate across multiple media platforms, and control industries through the power that we give them as consumers, and the large amounts of media attention they receive.
All the meanwhile capitalizing on the dramatically changing Internet aged world by remaining a solid constant in which people can relate with. Individual Statement I think through this group research project I did what was asked of me. I was on-time to every meeting, and not only that but I feel I was talkative and expressive about the direction of our paper’s and shared all my idea’s and opinions. Secondly I volunteered to put together our original project plan that was submitted for approval. So I also did something that was outside of the meeting process. In the meetings I obliged by all the rules we had as a team. And lastly I had my paper, and works cited page, and every other deadline that was instilled, I met and had accomplished the goal.