February 22, 2008

Stick to What We Pay You For

Why do celebrities and entertainers vocalize their political beliefs?

From a marketing standpoint, it's a terrible idea.

Oh. He's for the federal funding of stem-cell research? That changes my mind completely.

She hates that politician. Maybe I should too?

It can't possibly be effective. In fact, it virtually ensures that 50% of their fanbase will be at least a little repelled.

This is not a "their views are irrelevant" type of post, although I'd be happy doing that as well. I'm simply saying that it's not a smart career move. And it's not effective, either.


Anonymous said...

That's why you don't hear about Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods political beliefs. They're smart enough to know they would just be alienating fans. They are often criticized for this, but I think they can do more good behind the scenes anyway.

Anonymous said...

Maybe some of them have issues they genuinely care a great deal about and feel that if they are going to be given a chance to draw attention to it, they might as well regardless of if they alienate some people. Can you say you wouldn't do the same about something you care about?

Eric Olsen said...

that's a great question, Steve. And I'm thinking strictly from my marketing/P.R. mind right now.

If a celebrity sponsored a Breast Cancer walk, there would be no downside. Universally, people are against breast cancer.

If you come out against anything a particular political opponent, or a particular partisan political cause, this alienation would occur because it is not a recognized universal truth.

I'm merely suggesting that these people should choose their battles, like anonymous said above.

Anonymous said...

If you're thinking of it purely from a PR standpoint, then yes, be as inoffensive as possible. But isn't thinking of this in a vacuum kind of reducing a person to an economic machine (although from what I have read about old Hollywood, that's what studios used to try to do)? If that is their primary concern, fine. But what if their decision-making calculus skews a different way?

Eric Olsen said...

steve, you're right. i should consider it refreshing that they're willing to sacrifice fans, money, etc. for things they truly believe in.

I guess it's more that i WANT to like certain celebrities. But, then they talk, and I no longer hold them in that high esteem any longer.

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