With Angelina Jolie being lauded as a hero worldwide for her valiant effort to have a preventative double mastectomy, there’s also the BRAND and PR story of Angelina Jolie. Even previous to this, Jolie’s brand has shined – Best-selling PR Book “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations” by CEO of 5WPR Ronn Torossian had a section on Jolie.
The following is a book excerpt with permission:
The Transformational Power of Giving Back
The right kind of charity work, timed well, can help restore a tarnished image. Angelina Jolie is a great example. For a while, Jolie seemed not on the edge but all the way over the precipice, what with making out with her brother, breaking up Laura Dern’s marriage to Billy Bob Thornton, and wearing Thornton’s
blood in a charm around her neck. She was a wild child; over the last few years however, she’s done a great job turning her image around (even while stealing Jennifer Aniston’s husband). Now she not only speaks out against global poverty when most actresses pontificate about metallic flats versus leather stilettos
(or comment on political issues they know little about), but she also puts her money, time, and resources where her mouth is. Her brand today is not only about being a gorgeous woman and a talented actress but also an effective activist and fundraiser for causes having to do with children around the world.
This is an aspect of the actress’s brand that has been built over many years of hard work, and it’s clearly authentic. It has worked very well.
The actress also cleverly revealed that she was expecting a baby with Brad Pitt during a charitable mission. In 2006, Jolie and Pitt flew to Haiti and visited a school supported by a charity. The first pictures of a pregnant Jolie were sold to People magazine for a reported $500,000 donation to the charity. The Jolie-Pitt Foundation donated $2 million to buy and distribute medications to treat diseases that are ravaging Ethiopia, the country from which her daughter Zahara Marley was adopted. Before that, Jolie became a goodwill ambassador for the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees. In that role, she visited displaced
people in more than 20 countries, including Sierra Leone, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Jolie has also returned to Haiti many times, most recently in 2010 to distribute aid after an earthquake devastated the capital, Port-au-Prince. This just scratches the surface of the charitable work Jolie has done. In 2007, Jolie visited a refugee camp in Chad for a second time in order to raise awareness of the tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the killing in Darfur. In 2008, Jolie made a trip to Afghanistan to plea for international assistance for refugees.
Jolie is clearly authentic in her passion for these causes and it has worked for her, but can anyone doubt that for however much time and money she’s donated, she’s gotten it back many times over in salary and reputational reward? She took flak in the media for selling her pregnant photos to People for a charity
donation, but she shouldn’t have. Why would she give photos away for nothing and give them to tabloids who seem more obsessed with her tattoos and personal life than what she does as an actress and activist?
Owning a PR Agency, I respect people who want to control their own content and pursue their positions of power or notoriety to do good in the world. The charity initiatives have worked to burnish her reputation and public standing because her work is very real. The brand you see of Angelina Jolie at the UN or as a mother is real.
Photo credit: Angelina Jolie image courtesy Gage Skidmore