Monday, January 21, 2008

The WAGS vs Paris Hilton

I was just reading an article in Fast Company where Alex Bogusky (the name that gets dropped from Crispin Porter,) was being interviewed about 'brand fame.' His favourite example of branding genius was Paris Hilton in her ability to stay in the news without bringing anything to the table. The argument goes that as an agency what they look to do is take a brand and personify it a little then make it famous. BBH used to talk about the 'fame factory,' but I think they have dropped it now? I agree that if you don't make news and are just relying on hammering a message using traditional media metrics then you are nowhere, but also that Fame is its own end. As Paris demonstrates perfectly its being seen without substance. I am not sure treating brands like people is a good idea. It sounds a bit fake personal.

My choice would be the WAGS (In-ger-land!) They represent a cultural invention - a lifestyle which denotes a behavior i.e. a WAG is something you can become. They have even helpfully created a video handbook to how you can do this. You could of course argue that this is implicit in the fantasy lifestyle of Paris Hilton but as a lesson for branding the WAG shows us how to invent a lifestyle which could change how people behave and hence consume whereas Paris just shows us how to become a famous person or famous brand but without how to use this to change anything... Or in this case change it back if we put our minds to it.

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