Sunday, April 26, 2009


Although we’ve worked with numerous celebrities over the years on behalf of clients, we’ve chosen never to represent celebrities directly. But, it certainly would make sense. Celebrities are consumer brands as much as any packaged good is and, like an automobile brand, for example, they need to maintain a relevant point of distinction or ‘why to buy’ over time. (Above is a photo of me with Olympian Michael Phelps, who trains with PureSport, the most scientific sports drink on the market and one of our clients. It was taken after we took Phelps to MTV to do an interview that we secured for him to discuss PureSport.)

This is why the new Denise Richards “fun bags” video that’s been making the rounds (so to speak) on the Internet made me cringe. Already suffering from a severe case of irrelevancy in today’s entertainment market (and all who follow the Dynabranding principles or marketing know we are all about relevancy), Richards has decided to release a silly, five-minute, double-entendre video to (I am guessing?) display her skills as a comedic actress and try to get some acting work. Instead, the video comes off as a desperate and irresponsible (since kids are involved in the prank) attempt to make herself relevant again. It might have been a good strategy if Richards were trying to interest Playboy in featuring her fun bags, but she's already posed for the magazine. So, unless this was a stunt designed to prime the market for a new line of Denise Richards bras, whoever counseled her to do this video was, well, a boob.

While I’m on the topic of celebrity branding, can someone please help Jennifer Aniston? Sadly, she is well on her way to becoming the celebrity brand synonymous with ‘victim.’ A modern-day Debbie Reynolds. I just can’t understand why—given the Brangelina situation, which she has allowed to define her—anyone would advise Aniston to star, over and over again, in victim-themed movies like “The Break Up, “The Baster” and “He’s Just Not That Into You.” Who in the world is advising this poor woman? Unless this is part of a larger strategy designed to help Aniston own all of Hollywood's woe-is-me roles, these are ill-advised career choices. Aniston is lovely and talented and has the potential to be one of our most beloved comedic actresses but she needs to focus on reshaping and rebuilding her brand. My advice? First, she needs to determine what the Jennifer Aniston brand represents. The girl next door? The quintessential best friend? Second, she needs to start choosing relevant movie roles. Third, like all true brand leaders, she needs to stop talking about the competition--no more interviews about Brangelina.

Friday, April 24, 2009


As the founder and president of a PR firm that specializes in consumer lifestyle products, and a sometime style blogger and contributing style editor, I live in the world of magazines—reading them, tabbing them, ripping pages from them, referencing them and pitching story ideas to them. To me, thumbing page by glorious page through a glossy magazine is one of life’s great and inexpensive pleasures, offering a smorgasbord of visual and intellectual candy.

Sadly, the magazine world is in a state of complete distress, yet another casualty of our grim economy. Domino? Gone. The New York Times’ T magazine? Scaled back. Allure? Rumored to be shuttering. What’s next? I shudder to think.

That’s why I found it so utterly encouraging to see the latest issue of Brilliant, a Texas lifestyle magazine—with its completely new look—on the newsstand. So strong and confident. So fresh and optimistic. So brave and courageous. So, well, Texan.

With its bold new cover look (finally, the masthead gets the capital B it has long deserved), Brilliant beckoned to me like it hasn’t before and I just had to get my hands on it. And I did. I was struck immediately by the reader-friendly new layouts and the enhanced graphics and print quality and, before long, I was reading and tabbing and ripping with abandon and delight.

As I closed the magazine and put it down, I remembered what I’d read about Spring’s accessories on the vastly improved Editor’s Pick page. I ran to my closet and plucked out of hiding a Jennifer Ouellette ostrich feather headband that I bought several months ago but haven’t had the nerve to wear and put it on. To the Brilliant editorial team: congratulations, April's issue is a true feather in your cap.