Controversy good for the Brand brand?

November 1, 2008

A perfect media storm has been building in London all week. The row over Russell Brand and Jonathon Ross’ stupid phone prank has claimed a number of BBC scalps already and more could follow. But, it seems that Brand’s brand could benefit from the fuss.

[Non-UK mediaphiles click here for some background on this story]

Interviewed in the Daily Telegraph today [Friday 31 Oct], several leading British PR executives indicated that Brand’s fame and fortune can only grow as a result of the stink:

Mike Mathieson, chief executive of media agency Cake, said: “In Russell Brand’s case, there is no such thing as being too controversial. Jonathan Ross is a different case, because his behaviour has to justify his enormous salary.

“But for Russell Brand, this whole episode has given him added credibility with young people who can’t understand what all the fuss is about.” [Anita Singh in the Telegraph]

There’s another telling point here – that Brand’s young audience don’t get the joke. Why is it that crass sexual humour, betrayal of friends and undergraduate antics seems so funny to Brand’s fans?

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Olympic Obscenities

August 17, 2008

Regular readers will know that I am avoiding the Olympics. I am staging my own personal protest by boycotting the coverage and taking absolutely no notice of events, or the medal tally. But I’m also looking at non-sport coverage because that’s where the real meaning of the Games is exposed.

Take for example the gushingly OTT coverage of the eating habits of American super-freak swimmer Michael Phelps. Phelps’ intake of 12,000 calories for breakfast each day has been treated as a wonder of science, or as in one of my local papers something to mock and make fun of.

It’s actually my number one Olympic Obscenity of the week. It beats out the 56 fake ethnic groups, bus crashes and repeated screenings of a weighlifter’s busted limbs by a long way. The only thing that comes a close second is the anorexic arrested development of the female gymnasts.

Phelps’ diet would feed the entire Russian female gymnastics team for a week and let’s not (yet) even mention the apocryphal starving children in Africa.

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