In the span of a week, we lost Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and Billy Mays. Each had unique talents, became a pop culture icon, and enjoyed career longevity far beyond the norm of the media and entertainment industries. Interestingly enough, they’re connected through the legacy of some very memorable advertisements. With nothing but respect, I pay tribute to the fallen four in the form of top ten life lessons to be gleaned from their commercials:
Tag: Michael Jackson
Regardless of how you felt about Michael Jackson when he was alive, it is difficult to deny the extensive and irreplaceable contributions he made to music. It is also difficult to deny his truly amazing ability to reinvent himself as an artist in spite of --and in the face of-- personal tragedy and public scandal. As frail as he seemed, especially toward the end, Michael never stopped working on his image and music. A life lived in the public eye taught Michael from a young age to never stop moving. Sometimes forward, sometimes backward, and often times in circles. The Michael Jackson brand was truly malleable. For four decades he captivated us, for better or worse. Even in death he continues to do so.
Any group that manages a celebrity brand must focus on the authenticity and aspirational aspects that connect with their audience. Violate that, and the brand and the brand’s value can be significantly devalued.
Sometimes people ask me why, say, McDonald’s or Coca-Cola or Nike bother to advertise at all. We’ve all heard of them, right? We’ve all decided whether or not we like them. So why waste the money? Here is my answer: Because the simple-sounding issue of salience is very important. And as backup I offer the abrupt return to popularity of Michael Jackson’s music.
An extraordinary day of breaking news on Thursday led to record-breaking traffic spikes as people searched online for information about the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and, especially, Michael Jackson. And just like their counterparts in traditional media, the news divisions of Google, Yahoo, and Bing responded with sometimes extraordinary measures to ensure they were giving searchers the most accurate and current news available.