Celebrity PR and the Power of Association

Sheldon Big BangLast week, the Critics’ Choice TV awards announced its nominees and winners in several categories. Typically, there were some familiar shows among both the nominees and the award recipients. And, of course, there were some surprises. Orange is the New Black beat out network giants like The Big Bang Theory and cable stalwarts such as Veep for Best Comedy Series, underscoring the streaming entertainment revolution, and the fading relevance of the major networks.

However, Author and Public Relations Executive Ronn Torossian says, in these contests, winning is hardly the only thing that matters. In fact, sometimes winning is not the most important goal at all. Win or lose, the real goal here is to remain relevant. For newcomers, this means being mentioned in the same sentence as cultural icons.

When a lower-budget Netflix series gets the nod over established comedies, people may be surprised, but the real public relations currency for the newcomers is in the individual categories. For example, think about how Adam Scott and Chris Messina felt about being mentioned in the same breath as Robin Williams and Louis CK. In Hollywood, celebrity is as much about proximity as it is about fan base. For millions of people, Williams is a household name, Scott and Messina are now the guys who were worthy of consideration alongside the cultural icon.

For the cultural icons, whose most profitable years may be behind them, getting a nomination nod brings them back into the conversation, yet again. Looking again at the Best Lead Actor category, Williams, Scott, Messina, and CK all lost out to Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon (top left) on The Big Bang Theory. To date, BBT has been the undeniable defining moment of Parsons’ career. What will he do when the show ends? Who’s to say, but consider… he’s the guy who just beat Robin Williams in the comedy category. But, Robin Williams is also the guy who got nominated alongside Mr. Bazinga. In an industry where standing just out of the spotlight can mean getting frozen out altogether, the award shows help remind fickle viewing audiences of who they have loved before, and it helps these brands stay a part of the larger, ever-shifting conversation.

Where is your brand in the marketplace? Are you a rising star who could use a boost from current market leaders, or are you a fading market leader who wants to stay relevant? Either way, never underestimate the power of association.
Image credit: Sheldon courtesy Wikipdia

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