What can Jacko and Donny can teach us about long term brand health.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

Michael Jackson died 5 years ago.   Love him or hate him you can’t deny the massive impact he had on the entertainment industry.  He created the modern day Super Bowl halftime show as the first person to carry the event solo and the first to create movie-style music videos.  He showed being a young pop star was indeed a lucrative business (the Justins, Timberlake and Bieber that is, thank you). And he’s still pumping out records posthumously with “Xscape” (from what, the grave?!).

I owned Thriller, I loved Thriller.  Michael Jackson was an extremely talented guy, there’s no denying.  But he broke out a level of crazy that even his biggest fans got to wondering WTF.

So let’s look at the flipside:  Donny Osmond (be of the cavity-inducing bubble gum pop hit “Puppy Love”) was a massive child star at the same time as Michael (they were in fact friends).  Conversely to MJ, Donny worked his way into a happy, successful life through the slow and steady route, building a loyal fan base along the way.  No monkeys required.

So marketers, ask yourself:  what’s better for your brand?  To have a massive impact, no matter what the cost, but crash and burn in the end?  Or to establish a successful, well respected brand that lives long and healthy?