By Barb Paszyn
For the last decade or so, we’ve seen many celebrities fall and get back up again. Whether be it from an affair, drug problem or general misbehaviour.
Celebrities, like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ben Affleck had affairs. Yet their images weren’t ultimately tarnished. Instead they were forgiven. Justin Bieber had a two-year meltdown where, among many examples of crass behaviour, he was arrested. All it took was a public apology by way of a song literally called “Sorry” to eject the CCTV clip of him doing push-ups in a jail cell from our minds. Britney Spears is another classic example of a celebrity gone wild. In her twenties she had a complete breakdown. You’ll recall a certain tabloid dominating shot of her with a shaved head wildly swinging an umbrella. After taking a break from the spotlight, now she’s back, as if nothing happened. By the way, her music video Slumber Party was released just about a week ago on YouTube and it already has about 28 million views. If that’s not coming back, then I don’t know what is.
What is it about these celebrities that make what they did “okay”?
People want to buy into the celebrity’s brand. Whatever they’re selling, they want it! They’re fine with the image they represent but ignore the person behind it. This image is so much more powerful than the person itself that they forget. They forget that this person did something that they would normally never forgive their family member or friend for.
These celebrity slip ups also humanize their brand and remind us that people simply make mistakes. In the end, we can relate to them easier. But let’s face it – in our 24/7 news cycle world, our attention spans are shorter than ever. We sooner forget than forgive. And eventually we’re back to buying their perfume or from their clothing line – their brand.
Perhaps the lesson here is that people will eventually forgive companies if something dire happens that may affect their brand image, like these celebrities (if they don’t forget first). This is especially true if companies rectify the problem effectively, like Maple Leaf Foods and J&J.
After all, to err is human…