Paris Hilton: The Selling of Celebrity

Here’s a paper I had to write on Paris Hilton, the selling of celebrity and it’s concepts back in September of this year. You can check out the video Paris Hilton Inc, which details the basis of the paper here: Paris Hilton Inc: The Selling of Celebrity

Historically, entertainment shows society’s inner need to fantasize and observe areas of interest that exist outside a person’s every day life. Every culture has had it’s own form of celebrity with a majority of today’s being entertainers. Society has the innate need for individuals that represent a lifestyle, culture or dream that someone of a modest living could never achieve. A person can then use their preferred media outlet to bask in the wake of a celebrity’s success and failure.

Paris Hilton provides entertainment to the masses with her scandalous antics and unbecoming low-class behaviour. As the ups and downs of her life unfold viewers at home get a taste of what it’s like to be larger than life, satisfying the viewers need to live vicariously through someone else.

Perhaps the greatest form of technology that has helped shape Paris Hilton’s mythology is the Internet. It’s my opinion that the Internet put Paris Hilton on the map, namely through the posting of the adult home video that was released by her ex-boyfriend. It’s a fact that sex sells and has been used by some of the world’s biggest celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Madonna and, more recently, Brittany Spears. Using the home video scandal as a springboard, Paris Hilton has since reached out into all corners of entertainment by adapting her brand to select media forms.

However, I do not believe Paris Hilton to be an auteur. The brand that is Paris Hilton is merely a large endorsement for products that already exist such as her clothing and perfume lines. Nothing within either of those examples is unique or original. While some celebrities simply endorse products, others, such as Jennifer Lopez and Brittany Spears who both have their own perfume lines, have given someone like Paris Hilton the opportunity to imitate an already existing trend. The same can be said about her music, film and television careers. For instance, her television show “The Simple Life” was launched in a sea of copycat entertainment amongst shows like “The Osbournes” and “Tommy Lee Goes to College”, which frequently portray the chaotic, and often idiotic, life of a celebrity. Paris’ brand could be summed up as being the simple repackaging of already popular products from various markets, which coupled with her popularity, make her profitable production-line entertainment.

Today’s celebrity has marketing power at their fingertips with extremely easy to use and affordable technology. With websites like Youtube, Twitter and Facebook pioneering new ways of social networking, celebrities are just a click away from being in your home and delivering current news via webcam or email. Celebrities can also get closer to their fans by blogging about their experiences and giving a behind-the-scenes look at their daily lives, allowing the viewer to put a personality to the face. Not only is the overhead for all this relatively low, the celebrity has the opportunity to cash in by endorsing and expanding their products to a wider audience without having to leave the comforts of their home or go through expensive media channels.

Celebrities could be seen as the drivers of culture creating fads, lifestyles and beliefs. With celebrities being worshipped for their status, it’s only natural that we as a society try to emulate their lives. For example, an outspoken celebrity may voice their political views, which could sway a viewer’s opinion regardless of how educated the celebrity may be on that topic. While some viewers will already have their own opinion, others will merely assimilate those of the celebrity. Instead of seeking sources of credible information, the viewer may blindly follow the ideas of an entertainer, whose job is to entertain and not inform. Whether the celebrity’s opinion will have a positive or negative impact on our culture depends on their bias and sincerity.

Not only do adults view celebrities as role models but perhaps even more influenced by their actions are society’s youth. No collective group is more impressionable. For instance, if a child sees an actor from their favourite television series engaging in questionable behaviour, then they too may partake in the activity thinking it acceptable. Teenagers, drawn to a particular image, may try to replicate the lifestyle their idols portray by dressing in a similar fashion or purchasing a particular brand of product. With that being said, celebrities may be the world’s greatest trendsetters, inadvertently promoting brands and products to us, the consumers.

Mass media entertainment exists to make money, therefore, creativity, artistry and intellectual content are given up for what sells. The media panders to the lowest common denominator and the widest audience, which happens to coincide with the human desire to be entertained. All classes of society have this need for entertainment. However, because of this, our collective intellect may be suffering. For example, it’s more likely that people understand how a reality show like American Idol works than how our Government does. Which one is more important would be subjective to some, but as a result it gives more power to the celebrities who already happen to have influence over our society.

As I just mentioned, money is the bottom line concerning entertainment. If riding the coattails of today’s most popular themes drive home the money then the media will be flooded with clone content and related product until it dries up. With today’s media access points going beyond radio and television into things like iPods, satellite radio and the Internet, entertainment has a digital foot in the door when it comes to reaching billions of consumers; almost making it impossible to slow this money generating giant down.

2 Responses to “Paris Hilton: The Selling of Celebrity”
  1. why does it say in paragraph 4 that you love gay midget porn?

  2. SynthR says:

    Because its the truth. I wouldn't write something if it wasn't true.

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