Tag Archive: Kim Kardashian


From a personal public relations, marketing and branding standpoint, would I advise somebody’s daughter to pose au naturel for Playboy?

My answer is the ultimate of cop-outs: It all depends.

The most important public relations are personal public relations. Once a reputation and brand is tarnished, there will never be total redemption (e.g., Tiger Woods). This is not to suggest that posing for Playboy is necessarily unwise or potentially career limiting; some may conclude that is the case and others may have an all-together different opinion.

Before baring my opinions on this topic that once again came to the public’s attention as a result of Lindsay Lohan doing her best sans clothes impersonation of Marilyn Monroe complete with the red velvet background, one needs to be reminded that just a fraction of those that have the temerity to pose nude before millions of eyeballs are ever afforded the “opportunity.”

Besides having the requisite ornamental value, there usually must be a compelling business reason for the editors of Playboy to want devote a half-dozen or more glossy pages to a certain damsel. There is a literal media industry obsessed with fame (e.g., TMZ) and if the world has the desire to see what a particular, intriguing celebrity looks naked that draws lots attention, which translates into increasingly hard-to-attract advertising dollars. Reportedly, Lohan was paid $1 million under the condition that she pose 100 percent nude. There are 7.8 million Google results related to Lohan’s Playboy shoot and counting. The January/February issue (at least in major locales) with Lohan on the cover is a total sellout, which should bring a smile to Hugh Hefner’s 85-year old mug.

wittpb

So in the wake of her entertainment stardom, not to mention the DUIs, rehabs, shop-lifting and ankle bracelets, Lohan’s decision to pose even drew the interest of the Gray Lady, the New York Times. “You could argue that Playboy is actually a step in the right direction — toward what passes for class and decorum these days — and that she will now join the likes of Drew Barrymore, Kim Basinger, Joan Collins, Margaux Hemingway, Margot Kidder, Amanda Beard and Katarina Witt, all of whom posed for Playboy without any damage to their reputations whatsoever,” wrote Charles McGrath.

In assessing this question, one should consider the permanency of the pose/no pose decision. There is no debate that we live in a digital-is-eternal world in an attention society. A celebrity’s (or wanna-be celebrity’s) published nudity (both analog with staples and digital through key strokes) will follow her to the grave and in fact beyond the grave (e.g. Farrah Fawcett).

In some cases, the decision to pose nude is made with an eye toward launching a career (i.e., Jenny McCarthy, Pam Anderson) and in other cases the decision is made to resurrect interest or at least a memory (i.e. Witt, Fawcett). And in these cases, the decision from a personal PR, marketing and branding consideration was the right decision … but it doesn’t appear to work for everyone.

Nancy Sinatra’s decision to pose at 54 came too late in her career; her best days were clearly behind her. Fawcett was 48 and 50 for the two times she took off her clothes for Playboy’s photographers, putting her on the cusp of being too … mature for this decision.

Model Cindy Crawford recounted how advisors were aghast by her consideration of posing nude for famous photographer Herb Ritts’ camera a second time at 32-years-old in 1998. Reflecting on the stated opposition of her camp, Crawford said: “That provoked me and made me want to push their buttons a little. People have to compartmentalize me. They can’t deal with a woman who has a serious career taking off her clothes and being sexy.”

For race car driver/Go Daddy spokeswoman Danica Patrick the pose nude/not pose nude question has not been settled in her mind, and whatever she ultimately decides it must help build and enhance her personal “brand.”

“Artistically, I think it would be really fun,” the 31-year-old Patrick said according to the Sporting News. “But it’s not things that I need to do to push the issue with my brand. There’s already enough stuff that I do that pushes that, so I’d rather stay in my full comfort zone than go that far.

“I’m not saying there never will be a day. When I speak to them and they ask me each time, I say, ‘Don’t stop asking. I don’t know. I might change my mind one year and it might be something that parallels something else I’m doing or where I’m at.’”

Lohan’s pictorial in Playboy may or may not have totally sold out. There is no doubt that the Playboy appearances of two women resulted in their respective editions becoming collector’s items: Monroe and Olympic figure skating champion Witt.

wittpb1

Like Crawford before her, Witt had a similar pose/no pose decision to make. “I’m sure that some of my skating audience, when they hear I’ve taken off my clothes for Playboy, will be shocked. They may be uncomfortable with it, or they might ask, ‘Why?’ I don’t know what to say, except that I was ready to do this.” She was also 33 in 1998, possibly prompting her to ask herself, if not now, when … and is later possibly too late?

Olympic swimmer Beard was always being asked if she would pose for Playboy. “I talked to my agent, to my dad, I talked to my boyfriend, and finally it was like, You know what? It’s flattering that they want me to be in such an iconic magazine. It’s a huge honor, and I’m not going to have this body much longer. I’m going to go for it.”

And still there were nervous moments for Beard: “I’m used to being in not much clothing (yep, she is a swimmer), but I’m always in some clothing.” She had fun posing in the nude, and used the experience to try to get into the heads of her competition.

“What was most interesting is the reaction in the swimming community and the people I swim against,” Beard said. “The more I can distract them from my swimming, the better. Or maybe they won’t see me as much of a threat, and then bam out of nowhere … Another little mind game to play with them.”

Fawcett also reflected upon her fans and their impressions as part of her decision-making process. “Fans hand me posters, pictures, T-shirts to sign, and they talk about having fantasies about me. I decided, if they’re going to have fantasies, I’ll give them what I think they should have. As much as I wanted this, it wasn’t easy.”

In some cases, the decision to pose may revolve around money, (e.g. ,Lohan), notoriety (e.g., Kim Kardashian), break out the shadow of famous relatives (e.g., Lizzy Jagger) or to send a message to an ex-husband (e.g., Jeannie Buss).

From a personal brand-building/enhancing standpoint, the decision to pose worked well for the likes of Jenny McCarthy, Pam Anderson, Cindy Crawford, Katarina Witt and certainly Marilyn Monroe. For others including Nancy Sinatra and quite possibly, Farrah Fawcett and Patti Davis, it was a mistake. And for even others, such as Tea Party fave Sarah Palin or sideline reporter Erin Andrews in the wake of the despicable stalker video of her, the decision to pose would most likely be curtains or at least eye-opening setbacks to lucrative careers.

Relatively new Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer raised more than a few eyebrows with her horizontal spread for Vogue. A horizontal pose for Playboy by telegenic Mayer would more than stir up Yahoo!’s NASDAQ ticker symbol.

Of course, times and mores change. Monroe was reportedly questioned by authorities what was on when she posed for Playboy. She replied: “The radio.” These days no one would care what music was playing when Lohan stepped out of her bathrobe.

Did they airbrush her ankle bracelets along with her tattoos?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/sunday-review/lindsay-lohan-in-playboy-overexposed.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.nndb.com/lists/272/000091996/

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/9170927-president-reagans-daughter-patti-davis-poses-nude-at-58-photo

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/271833/20111223/lindsay-lohan-pictorial-leaked-playboy-photos-want.htm

http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar/story/2013-07-12/danica-patrick-nude-photos-swimsuit-pose-si-espn-go-daddy

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nascar-from-the-marbles/danica-patrick-won-t-appear-nude-espn-body-034511628.html

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1702957-danica-patrick-declined-to-pose-in-the-2013-espn-body-issue

http://articles.latimes.com/1995-05-14/news/ls-376_1_parallel-universe

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/20/living/marissa-mayers-vogue-photo-women/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/mayer-vogue-nasdaq-yhoo/

Move over Gordon Moore, there is a new law in town: Digital is Eternal.

Intel Corporation co-founder Moore is famous for his 1965 “law,” stating that every 18-24 months the amount of capability/complexity that can be incorporated into a silicon piece of real estate doubles. The law is still applicable nearly two generations later and it explains how we can have ever-smaller devices (e.g. fourth generation cell phones with tons of apps) that are faster, quicker, more powerful and burn less power in doing so. It all adds up to the serendipity of the semiconductor business.

moore

A net effect of Moore’s law is the proliferation of the ones-and-zeroes that make digital possible. And with the global spread of digital technology comes the undeniable and inescapable fact that anything and everything that is rendered digital is there forever…and can come back to bite you. Digital is eternal.

Back in my analog days working in the California governor’s office in the 1980s, a frequent refrain heard in the corridors of the capitol was, “If you don’t want to read about it in the Sacramento Bee, don’t write it down.” The big fear at the time was copy machines, lots of copy machines. Members of the Capital Press Corps would soon be receiving white envelopes with no return addresses and inside of these envelopes were photocopied “good dirt.” This practice almost sounds quaint compared to today’s digital TMZ, Deadspin, National Enquirer world

Fast forward to the digital days of the Internet Bubble in which stocks rode the roller coaster up and the same thrill ride to the bottom, we heard another refrain, “Everything digital is discoverable.” Translated: A plaintiff attorney firm filing a strike suit against your company could, and most likely would, demand in the discovery process all corporation e-mails, notes, transcripts, documents, anything and everything even remotely relevant to the matter being litigated. And there was no excuse for digital data being routinely purged after an appropriate period of time; a judge would simply order a company to digitally comply regardless of the IT data recovery costs involved. No wonder so many cases were settled out of court to the delight of the strike suit firm.

Today, we live in the age of Google. The company’s name is no longer just a proper noun, but a verb as in “Google this” and “Google that.” What is being Googled in many cases is a person’s reputation and personal brand.

If you are Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian (you get the digital picture), money and attention is the draw; reputation is clearly secondary, if not tertiary. So a supposedly private sex tape or commando raid becomes public or pubic…or lack of pubic. Will they ever regret that their sexual escapades are permanently captured and literally viewed by millions all by means of digital ones and zeroes? Wonder if Brett Favre and/or Anthony Weiner have any regrets about digitally transmitting images of their respective junk?

Go ahead and “Google” Olympic Gold medal swimmer, “Michael Phelps bong” and 505,000 pages including the infamous stoned photos (first item) come rushing at you. Will the public remember his 16-gold medals or his famous bong pipe escapade? What is really sad is the bong pipe photo, which reportedly cost him millions in endorsements, will not only follow him to his grave, but actually will be a permanently black mark on his reputation beyond his grave.

phelps

“Some day that party picture is going to bite them when they seek a senior corporate job or public office,” said Don Tapscott, author of Grown Up Digital. “I think they should wake up now, and become aware of the extent to which they’re sharing parts of themselves that one day they may wish they had kept private.”

More than one person has labeled college as “Life’s last playground.” And as a teaching assistant, I run into students who are having plain old fun and enjoying their college years to the max. They should also keep in mind, whether they like it or not, that they are also in the midst of making a transition from being student to becoming a professional.

If a student is neck-and-neck with another student for an entry-level job and the employer Google’s both and finds a bong pipe, a drunken stupor or an inappropriate display for body parts that should be private on one student and none of the above on the other, who are they going to be inclined to hire?

And this cautionary note goes beyond the prospective work place and also includes a potential lover. In this era of Internet dating, it is routine for a partner-to-be to surf your reputation to determine if there any game-changing, unpleasant sides to your personal brand. What may be playful and fun to you, may be interpreted as showing a total lack of judgment.

In this era of smaller and smaller cameras and more powerful microphones, all for reasonable prices, it is better to think twice and to exert caution. My intent here is to not be an old-fashioned party pooper. Instead, I would like to ensure that student careers do not come crashing to earth, before they even have a chance to get launched into the professional stratosphere. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Moore

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_Law

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Phelps

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=4&oq=Michael+Phelps+&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4ADRA_enUS373US374&q=michael+phelps+bong&gs_upl=0l0l0l13120lllllllllll0&aqi=g4s1

If I had a dollar for every time a colleague came up to me and suggested that I perform some public relations magic that overcomes a well-chronicled FUBAR, I would be a very rich hombre.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the implied compliment. It is just in certain cases there comes a point when a debacle has passed the point of PR no return. The party in question cannot be saved by effective use of strategic communications. Instead, the situation requires an outright miracle…and PR pros cannot walk on water or change water into wine (even though some egos will claim they have these powers in the name of billable hours).

Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is one of these cases. Even prison inmates have a caste system, and child molesters are the low-of-the-low. Even though this sounds cruel, his life is over. He cannot be saved with an infinite amount of spin or even divine intervention.

A less egregious case (alleged child molestation is hard to surpass when it comes to despicability) is former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner. What was he thinking when he decided to tweet his junk to coeds across the fruited plain? Do you think any self-respecting public relations pro would want to develop an Anthony Weiner comeback campaign? Hmmm…Let’s start with an appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor”…that will garner some media attention. Maybe Jon Stewart and “60 Minutes” will be interested as well?

OJChase

There are literally dozens of other instances in which the public relations atrocity is beyond the pale. The individual or individuals simply cannot be rescued, and in most cases they do not deserve to be saved. Mike Tyson bit off the ear of Evander Holyfield; OJ Simpson dodged the law once, but failed the second time and remains in the slam; Dominic Strauss-Kahn may have been acquitted, but the image of him charging buck naked at a hotel chamber maid is frankly too much to even imagine. Texas Governor Rick Perry’s nationally televised brain fart, not remembering the third federal department he wants to abolish (that would be the Department of Energy, guvnah), cannot be spun into a positive. Pass the chicken salad.

Having acknowledged that certain people do not deserve to be saved (my list above is way too short, but you get the idea), there are some cases in which time can serve as a healer. For those of you mature enough to remember, Richard Nixon gave his “last press conference” in 1962, was elected president six years later and then resigned in disgrace six years after that. His career was the ultimate Dow Joneser from a public relations standpoint.

Nixon

How many wrote off golf superstar Tiger Woods after his 19th hole activities with a bevy of beauties was revealed? He lost his personal PR campaign to save his marriage, but the focus has returned to his golf game and his place among the best players ever to play in the sport’s grand slam tournaments.

Kim Kardashian’s 72-day “marriage” to basketball stud Kris Humphries (seemed like 10 minutes) will only contribute to her attention-society persona and her handlers will figure out even more intriguing ways to cater to the those obsessed with le affaire of the Thirty-Mile Zone.

Today, we all read about the failure of the congressional super committee to tame the nation’s $15 trillion deficit. The market responded by selling off to the tune of 248 points, but one suspects this stalemate was already baked into the numbers. Now it is time for the blame game between the talking heads of both parties.

One of the key methodologies of crisis communications is to immediately point to the future, making today’s bad news, old news. “Yes, yes, the super committee was hopelessly deadlocked, but we still have a whopping deficit…so what should we do about it?” Keep in mind that those that trade in information (e.g. editors, reporters, correspondents, bloggers, analysts, commentators) always want to know what comes next (e.g. what will the market do tomorrow, next week, next month, next year). Once one presidential election is in the books, the question is who will win four years later? Hmmm…you just won the world title, can you repeat?…

As a society our memories are relatively short. Richard Nixon had a future after losing to Pat Brown in 1962. Tiger Woods has another tournament to play. Mizz Kardashian has another party to make an appearance and what will she not be wearing? There is even a future for AH-Nold Schwarzenegger and his over-eager Schlange, just not in politics. Will POTUS convene another deficit reduction committee? Wasn’t his jobs bill expected to be funded by “savings” identified by the congressional deficit-reduction committee? Sorry for the digression.

sandusky

And then there is Jerry Sandusky. Everyone deserves a fair trial. He will have an attorney, and his day in court. For him, there is most likely a prison cell and the people who already live in the same penitentiary, and they don’t like those who molest children. There will be no one to give him PR advice, because quite frankly (if proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be guilty) he does not deserve PR counsel…let alone miracle workers.

%d bloggers like this: