Paris Hilton – Celebrity Gossip Fodder, Jailbird, or Marketing Guru?
Ah, Paris Hilton. Omnipresent, overexposed, and underappreciated. Is there something about it, some part of it, that the entire United States is not yet familiar with?
She is the quintessential celebrity of the 21st century, famous just for being famous. She is not known for being a singer, actress, model, designer, author, or entrepreneur, although she is all of those things. She’s known only for being … well, Paris Hilton. And today, that brand is among the most recognized in the world and is worth millions.
So how did she become famous enough to exploit her constant media attention? After all, there are plenty of rich and vaguely attractive people in America, and most of them don’t make the front page of the tabloids every week.
Was it (A) your modeling career, which began professionally at age 19 (you signed with Donald Trump’s company, of course)? Or (B), his frequent appearances at fancy events and trendy clubs. Maybe (C), his cameo in the movie Zoolander?
If you said, (D), none of the above, you would be correct. Paris got her 15 minutes of fame because she was filmed having sex, a lot. And here on YouTube, the viral marketing generation, 15 minutes can last a lifetime (of free advertising).
1 Night in Paris, Ms. Hilton’s sexual exploits, broke onto the internet in 2003, suspiciously close to the debut of the Paris reality TV series, The Simple Life. Between the sex tape and the TV show, the Paris mania was on, having secured its place in the pantheon of celebrities who have done really silly things, caught up, and benefited greatly from the exposure. Overnight, her haughtiness, silly blonde personality, and wealth made her a paparazzi’s dream, every man’s fantasy, and the object of scorn, ridicule, and conversation at water dispensers around the world. No amount of money could have bought the most far-reaching word-of-mouth advertising.
The e! The television show The Simple Life was proof positive that the country’s thirst for all things Paris was insatiable. The series was curiously funny at first and then excruciatingly impossible to watch. Fortunately, it was canceled in 2007, after four years of running.
Paris has appeared in some movies like House of Wax, where audiences applauded her untimely demise. She released an album, co-wrote a book in 2004, worked as a jewelry designer, has her own perfume line, has her own chain of nightclubs, AND makes millions on her own every year.
In 2007, after mocking the California legal system for years (most of which were videotaped), Paris was arrested for driving on a suspended license due to a previous DUI incident.
America was suddenly giddy, clamoring for news of Paris Hilton’s jail, taking guilty pleasure in the details of her ordeal and the less-than-star treatment. The media coverage was comically exaggerated. Paris’s attempts to evoke pity and empathy through her leaked diary entries were recounted in detail by the thirsty gossipers. We all sniggered and watched with great attention.
And, while everyone was laughing, this model, actress and porn star cultivated the ridiculously successful and marketable brand that is Paris Hilton. He could have spent his life doing absolutely nothing, not just pretending. Instead, it has captured the world’s attention and imagination. Would you buy Paris Hilton sparkling water? Neither do I, but millions certainly would, adding to the $ 6 million a year he currently makes (according to Forbes magazine).
While we attribute very little of the planning of these brilliant mini-marketing events to Paris, she has played her role to perfection. Carefully orchestrated chaos is a lot harder to pull off than people think. Just compare Paris Hilton, the brand, with the Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears brands. Wrong puppeteers pulling those strings.
How can you do your part? How can you contribute to the global marketing plan that keeps your lifestyle alive and fuels your next stunt or stunt and fuels the brand? Just bring her up, joke about her, or ridicule like millions of other Paris Hilton fans or foes do every day. We all need distractions and diversions in our boring and humming life. We all need something, someone to turn to when we feel really bad about ourselves, so that we can feel, well … better. Thank God we will always have Paris.