Private Garbage, the New Pseudo-gold Mine of Personal Branding

Dirty Laundry everything-pr

I thought keeping your dirty laundry away from the media was the key to success in the world of the famous, be it actors, singers, politicians or sport stars. And, the Tiger Woods media circus causing him to loose a lot of advertising gigs is partial proof for my point of view. Years ago it was not so fashionable to be rumored to have slept with X and Y famous colleague, substance abuse, abandoning your children, cheating on your spouse, and etc., these things were career stoppers – but things have changed

We now love all the dirt out there, and I am not talking about tabloids either. I am talking about the “rigorous, professional, ethical” media, which loves sordid little stories more than anything. They love sex tapes, sport news about footballers’ wives, and frankly we seem to be more interested in the stars’ private affairs than in their actual performances. I guess that’s why we have so many people appearing on our screens every day, because they’re famous for being famous.

All this has been taken to the extreme by the celebrity reality shows. Stars appearing on Big Brother might seem a bit desperate at first: their only chance to still be the center of attention. But, right now, we have the celebrity version of Big Brother. Yes, Lorenzo Lamas isn’t getting parts in movies, but he’s got a TV show. And they promote it by emphasizing he is an actor who used to be famous eons ago.

People are watching so everyone is desperate to reveal as much dirt as possible in order to be in the spotlight for another fifteen minutes, and we are validating them by reading and watching. Is it still surprising that there’s a mention on Wikipedia about one of the Cheeky Girls and her affair with a famous UK politician which broke up a marriage? Is it any wonder that wannabes will reveal anything, no matter who they hurt in the process?

We have to wonder who is responsible for this degradation in what makes the news and in what the public is interested in. Is it because we really want it, we wouldn’t watch anything else? Or is it because we’ve been trained to be hungry for such junk? This is easy news reporting. Why bother finding the news when there’s almost always a scandal to entertain the audience? I thought music, movies or dancing were there to entertain us. Why do we still need the backstage mess in musicians, actors and dancers’ lives?

Back to the effects on personal branding, I can understand why so many PR pros advise against “attention grabbers” such strategies. But, if it works for now, why not? The public’s attention means a big pay day. But, here’s little piece of advice: everyone doing so, beware of when the public tires of your antics. You may still have your fun, only the public won’t care anymore – then what? How far will a falling star have to sink to continue giving the public its drama fix? There should be a backup plan perhaps?


  1. Patricia Lace says

    Hello all! This is the first time I have ever responded to or even gotten involved in a blogg. I started searching for “how to’s” on bloggin. Being suich a novice I still can’t seem to figure out how to create my own bolgg! I really appreciate Alina’s beliefs, as well as Brad’s response.
    It reminds me opf two things. One is that of the song by (I think) ACDC called “Dirty Laundry” which addressed so many of the things she speaks about.
    The other idea was that of a trip to the zoo. If one were to visit the primates, one would see a couple of things. If there was mother and baby cuddling and nursing – all so nurturing – there would be “peace in the valley”, so to speak.

    However, should there be even one tiny dispute, it would arrouse the attention of the entire primate community. Can’t you just see it all? It would be quite an interesting study to try to determine what there is in us that makes us relish in others’ failures, curious about any faults found in others, and a general unlovingness present within us all.

    Regarding lonliness: I once wrote a thirty day program directed toward overcoming lonliness I believe this is endemic within us all. Never acknowledged, always at the root of so many unacknowledged problems. Simply part of the human condition. All of our “toys” are geared to the “COVER UP” of this solvable condition.

  2. Alina Popescu says

    Alex, who you choose as a role model is indeed important. While we prefer to enjoy others’ misery instead of giving a positive spin to our lives escapes me. As for the online, again it depends on who you meet and who you interact with :) At times you feel you are never alone. On the other hand, we do need the real human contact in our lives.

    Phil, I am so glad to be part of this wonderful team! Thanks for having me here :)

    Morality is subjective indeed, and it changes according to the age we live in. Yet the fact that everyone’s time is wasted should be obvious to more people. Such scandals are no longer newsworthy, they don’t help us in any way, they don’t educate anyone. And sometimes even their entertaining value is questionable, because they’re just sad…

  3. Phil Butler says

    Welcome Alina, It is so great to have a fresh perspective and another fine author for our team. More and more we get into moral issues, which while subjective, are important never the less.

    This “hype” and sensationalist strategy has been around since Eden, but today it is more the norm as you suggest. Traffic is the game here in the digital world, we have not gotten to the targeted and contextual El Dorado we have all talked about – not yet.

    Thanks for a great first article, and we know there will be many more to come.


  4. Alex Cristache says

    Brad, Alina, nice to see you both here!
    This is a really soft spot Alina, and Brad is definitely right about the “moral” side of this story. But, since I’m one of those who lost faith in the masses, while gaining faith in certain individuals, I believe the source of this attitude is more simpler: hate, anger, wishes of seeing other people fall apart. Instead of looking for successful role-models, we’re happy to see those who were once big, falling to the ground, in some sort of sick balance to our own failures in achieving the big break-through. Part of it is due to the poor education people get these days, and part of it due to the lack of interaction, face to face interaction between people. I’m a guy that loves the online and believes in it with every breath, but despite our communities, we’re still more “alone” than we were before it.

  5. Alina Popescu says

    Brad, we might be getting the governments, media and generally the life we deserve. On the other hand, I’ve seen so many people saying they’d want something else and no one seems to be listening. As for us starting the conversation… If moral or ethics are not something of interest and we’re not ready for that conversation, what about the simple “what’s in it for me?”. If information is power, what kind of power and what kind of benefits to these type of sordid little affairs entail :) It’s useless, tasteless and we can very well live without it!

    I agree with you, that’s the only kind of success worth having! It’s the kind that also makes you feel better about yourself and humanity in general at the end of the day :)

  6. Brad Shorr says

    Alina, First of all, congratulations on your new spot at EverythingPR – you are a great addition! You’ve chosen a very important and problematic topic. It’s been very depressing to see media and (to a great extent) our popular culture sink slowly and surely to the lowest common denominator. If you’re looking for causes, I think we have to look inward. There is deep truth in the adage that a society gets the government it deserves. In the same way, we get the media we deserve. Whether a business should exploit the popular craving for dirt in pursuit of profits is fundamentally a moral question. And, until our society is willing to discuss business, social, and political questions in a moral context, media exploitation will continue to worsen, leaving a great deal of wreckage in its wake as you seem to imply. Experience has taught me that the high road leads to long term, sustainable success. So I suppose my question is, is there any other kind of success worth having?

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