Courtesy of Radar Magazine, a story they ran yesterday on celebrity brands… I was also quoted nationwide today on the Don Imus controversy. While celebrity brands represent less than 5% of our annual revenue, the celebrity fascination is one the media constantly writes about… so we discuss celebrities as brands, which of course they are, much as NIKE, MICROSOFT or others…
Can Our Panel of Publicists Save Angelina?
Angelina Jolie goes on humanitarian missions to third world countries. She speaks out against global poverty when most actresses pontificate about metallic flats. She scoops up babes from squalid conditions worldwide, whisking them away to New Orleans to live in a glamorous version of One World. She’s schtupping the hottest man alive. And yet, the tabloids have turned on her.
Last week, Brangelina took a walloping, thanks, most agree, to the couple’s exclusive photo deals with People (for charity cash, natch). Denied access to pics of baby Pax, Star and Us Weekly both published scathing headlines, including accusations that Angie walked out on Brad and “uses her kids to manipulate the media.” Star reported that Angelina uses four full-time nannies and has access to an exclusive, no-cameras-allowed day care on the Warner Bros. lot. Meanwhile, People smirks in the corner, ready to publish fresh pics of the Jolie/Pitt adoptees as they pile up (rumors have it the pair are currently hunting for a girl in Chad).
Can Angie continue micromanaging her own pap coverage, knowing that the tab thrashing will only increase with time? Or should she give in to the pressure and sell her family out—literally? When Radar is confronted with questions so pressing (and so entrenched in the smarmy world of gossip glossies) we can only turn to one crack team for answers: celebrity publicists.
This week, we spoke to Ronn Torossian, head of 5WPR and onetime flack for Pamela Anderson and Lil’ Kim. Below, our inaugural PR/ER faceoff.
On the People photo deals Ronn Torossian: “She’s free to give the photos to whomever she likes. Is she really going to give the images to the mags who publish rumors about her and say she’s manipulating people? I appreciate clients who want to control their own content. My struggle with journalists is: how much do I get and how much do I give? Angelina gives to People because they are one of the biggest publications in the country. She’s getting a lot back from them. I wouldn’t be upset to rep an A-level superstar who controls her own content. I think she’s doing something different.”
On Angelina’s enduring appeal Ronn Torossian: “Here’s the thing with celebrities One talks about Jenna Jameson’s brand a lot different than one talks about Ellen De Generes’s. You need to realize: celebs are brands. Angelina Jolie is breasts, lips, and thighs. She is sexiness, okay? And sexy people can get away with a lot more. And having Brad by her side doesn’t hurt. Yeah, he’s not the most hetero, but he calms her. I don’t care if she keeps adopting —what’s hanging on her neck is young kids, not her brother’s tongue, and that’s a big step for me. She has done a great job turning her image around.”
On Angie, mother figure Torossian: “I think it’s real, it’s authentic. We urge celebs to tell the truth, good or bad. I think the brand you see of Angelina at the U.N. or as a mother are real. Her love is not contrived, it’s not Tom Cruise jumping up on Oprah’s couch. Seeing her run around in Africa with children is better than seeing her covered with tattoos and making out with her brother on the red carpet.”
On her next step Ronn Torossian: “She’s doing a great job already. She’s in the sexiest couple in America. Angelina had a minute where she was more than a little eccentric. She was weird. She wore blood vials. And now, she’s an ambassador. You want to tell me she hasn’t turned her brand around?”