Holidays are just like breaking news; they always throw the news cycle for a loop and with so much noise going on, sometimes you have to pay extra special attention for breakout events. In the event of this week’s highlights, all three of them made a loud bang of their own. Even with Thanksgiving and Black Friday hysteria you were able to take notice that Gossip Girls made a comeback, Carpool Karaoke host is a star in his own right and designers were split on whether to dress or not dress the future FLOTUS-to-be. This year I’m thankful for some really good PR case studies.
Gilmore Girls make a comeback.
Gilmore Girls make a comeback; without a new episode. How you ask? I asked myself the same thing. Over the Thanksgiving break I noticed that my social feeds were inundated with Gilmore gossip to the point that you’d swear a new season just came out. How’s this possible? I thought the show was cancelled what felt like decades ago. It turns out the two are somewhat true. The final episode first aired in May of 2007, however the series was reintroduced into main-stream everything when Netflix officially began offering past seasons on Nov. 25. GG fans were sent abuzz and although I’ve never been a follower of the show, I have now learned too many details of the characters that I wish I never knew.
Although GG may be a little to Y2K for me, I can acknowledge when something is hot and having a moment and these Gilmore gals are having just that. Never has a mother-daughter duo been so trending. Netflix, I knew you were huge but I never considered you a publicity platform until now. There’s something more to Netflix than just offering us a variety of programming that we can watch on demand. By what it launches and when it launches, there’s something there; could Netflix be our next big PR platform? I need to ponder on this a bit more but ear me on this one, there’s something there.
Back to GG. Great strategy of Netflix to release the show over Thanksgiving weekend. It’s family time and what better moment to have people watch a show about people bonding that during the holiday where we celebrate bonding with each other. Brilliant move, Netflix. You created a buzz, not only resurrected a show that I thought to be dead but you made it trending; who wins here? You or GG; I declare a tie. This was some beautiful planning that really gave us an unexpected holiday surprise.
From Carpool Karaoke to ‘It’ guy!
By now you’ve seen ‘Carpool Karaoke’ or at least heard of it. If not, I’m sorry to say that you’ve been living under a rock. With everything going on these days, I don’t blame you; mind sharing where this sheltering rock exists? I may need a few days with you there. Alas, back to the grain. Carpool Karaoke is a thing now and aside from providing entertainment to millions of viewers via social media, the true break out star from these videos is the driver/host himself, James Corden.
James is having a moment and the music and entertainment industry is taking notice. He’s trending to the point that The Recording Academy has named him the host of the 69th annual Grammy Awards in February. This is a big deal as if you’ve been following award shows, this one in particular, you’ve noticed that for the past five consecutive years the host has been fellow winner, actor, entrepreneur, recording artist, misc. extraordinaire LL Cool James. I hope you don’t take this as a blow to your ego, LL; you’re still cool but James is ‘the’ thing right now and after his viral popularity, this makes perfect sense.
So who’s getting the PR benefit here? I’d say it’s mutual but with a greater room of winning for James. Clearly his videos reach audiences all over the world but now he will legitimately take a global stage and put his personal brand to the test. If he brings that charm that we’ve learned to expect in each ride-along then this show should be a major success. Pretty easy; James just has to be James. His worst enemy in hosting is himself. We’ve seen before when fun hosts try to tackle on new facets of their personality and fall flat. Let’s think Seth McFarlane at the Oscars. Yes we loved him for being crude, but he up-played it a tad too much to the point it was horrendously off-putting. James, I cannot say this enough; please just be you! This is PR gold for you; after this the world will be yours and I foresee a Netflix or TV special if you just deliver. Give us the fun Carpool Karaoke James we want.
If you need a recap to why James is a thing right now; here’s a few of his most memorable carpool sessions.
Videos: The Late Late Show with James Corden.
Should designers dress Melania Trump?
Photo: Vanity Fair.
Fashion is not immune to politics and with such a divisive election, there are bound to be players on both sides, designers included. We’ve been hearing it, the list of designers swearing not to dress soon-to-be First Lady Melania Trump, is growing. Fashion definitely had much to say about Election 2016; Anna Wintour and Vogue publicly endorsed the Clinton campaign. French designer Sophie Theallet was the first to express her sentiments and issue a formal statement regarding her decision to not back up the FLOTUS-to-be’s style. Carolina Herrera on the contrary said that it was only a matter of time before other designers come around and eventually send garments her way. Tommy Hilfiger was blunt from the start and said that the FLOTUS should be a sign of American pride, regardless of politics and that he would gladly dress her.
Clearly we see that there is a division on which designers and brands support the Trump administration and which do not. This here brings the PR component to the debate of whether fashion should or shouldn’t publicly take a stance regarding Melania. In the case of Sophie, this actually was a wonderful PR move as her brand received lots of attention across the world. In the event of New Balance, things got a little stickier and they ended up creating a crisis when they expressed support for Trump. So how does a brand know when to be vocal or not be vocal regarding politics?
The key to any brand message is knowing their audience; demographics and psychographics. For New Balance, leadership wanted to make a statement that supported a trade agreement but in reality they gained support from the KKK. Clearly here, the brand did not think about their audience; bad move which consequently received a backlash. Can’t say I’m surprised; you clearly didn’t think it through NB, especially when it was such a hot topic. Sophie in this instance knows her demographic: global, diverse, luxury-affluent; her decision to not support Melania resonated with her customers.
Photo: Refinery 29.
Politics are like a CSR plan; people are more and more often making purchase decisions based on the stories of their brands. If a brand goes against their customers’ political views then they can expect for a disconnect to take place with their audience, however if company views line up with customer views, then you have a golden pipeline of communication with followers. If a company does not support the same political affiliation as its customers then it may be a good sign to stay mum and not express any support. If feelings are mutual, then this could be a great opportunity for a brand to go vocal and strengthen its relationship with its key audiences.
So the question of whether a designer should dress or not dress Melania is a case-by-case PR question brands should ask themselves. Brands and their employees and leadership are free to feel and support any party they chose to but a company should think things strategically before letting everyone know where their support stands. This could be a great opportunity to strengthen love for a brand or in the case of NB, create a crisis that was unnecessary. If the latter is more possible of an outcome than the first, then opting out of this discussion may be best.