Posts Tagged ‘david beckham’

Beckham and the Bounce-Back Brand

David Beckham epitomises the modern celebrity age: in any other era, we wouldn’t have blinked an eyelid at a 38 year old footballer, other than for the sheer amount of time he had managed to stay in the game. Past his prime, we may no longer celebrate his on-pitch prowess in the same way, but we cannot deny the mammoth commercial clout of his brand. I marvel at the noise and clamour surrounding his move back to Europe.

The Beckham brand in its multiple forms has taken on global proportions, shepherding the herd with it at every stage. By leveraging his football career as a gossip point, David Beckham has been able to move across every point on the map. Beckham’s commercial success has been manifold, moving under the knowledgeable hands of Simon Fuller’s management company 19 from football to perfume and from fashion to advertising. He has moved from pitch to pitch and field to field seamlessly, enlisting the loyalty of millions worldwide each step of the way. We might only speculate on the actual contract struck with the club. Charitable donation is a wonderful stunt, but I guess we’ll never see the real deal.

Beckham is the master of reinvention, rivalling Madonna’s notable highs for his capacity to renegade over the course of his career. Along the way he has modelled clothes, endorsed some of the world’s biggest brands, and seized the world’s attention at all times. The interest that he has harvested across the globe – from the US to China – is now nestling itself into Paris Saint Germain, bringing glamour to the team and providing an opportunity for him to hide from the glare of the paparazzi under the country’s privacy laws.

So what’s the next step for the man who’s done everything in his career? Well, hopefully he will invest his brand capital in becoming a statesman for the game. His role in the Olympic 2012 bid carries a formidable legacy. It’s time for the likes of Beckenbauer and Platini to stand aside. Hopefully Golden Balls has the stuff.

There’s so much more for Beckham than the pantomime of the clichéd pundit pit. On home turf, not since the likes of Trevor Brooking or Bobby Charlton has football had a dignified British football statesman who could bring their wealth of knowledge and experience to the game. Beckham’s in it for the long haul.

Promote It Like Beckham

Tottenham Hotspur have pulled off a nifty coup for the New Year, bringing David Beckham in to train after a few weeks of speculation and “will he/won’t he?” in the tabloids. Regarding Beckham actually playing for the team, nothing is certain still, but that is hardly the point.

The point is that this is a perfect way for Beckham to maintain his British profile prior to LA Galaxy’s season start in March, it’s not a bad way for Beckham to get fit for that purpose too and, if he does sign, Spurs will be able to turn quite some coin on the back of the fans who will want Beckham shirts. Read the rest of this entry »

England’s World Cup Woes

So Russia have the 2018 World Cup and it’s to go to Qatar in 2022. Anyone trying to suggest that this decision has anything to do with football needs to go away and sit quietly in a dark corner whilst they reevaluate their opinion.

The decision by FIFA bigwigs is solely about where the power is in the new world order, and it’s not in quiet, dusty old England. No-one should be trying to make Panorama a scapegoat, either – this is a decision that would have been reached regardless of their investigations.

We live in an age of infocapitalists. Those with the biggest budgets are always most likely to buy up these big events – and who is bigger these days than the big, oil rich states?

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The Truth? Bend it About Beckham

Conundrum of the week is the strange case of why In Touch magazine ran a story suggesting athletic rumpy pumpy between Beckham and exotic model-come-prostitute Irma Nici.

I might be wrong, but it all feels so fake. Certainly, David Beckham looks set to sue the US magazine for the claims that he went a bit Rooney.

Bauer – who publish In Touch – clearly did not comprehend the chaos that would be unleashed. I suspect their office must have echoed with the cry of: “Bugger the truth, the story is too good to ignore!” The fall out and collective web chatter suggests a plethora of conspiracy theories. My favourite so far is the one that suggests that it is a hoax attempting to derail England’s World Cup bid. Read the rest of this entry »

Karaoke Culture

We are living in a karaoke media culture – everything we see is a pale, recycled copy of something that’s gone before and, worse still, this sincere flattery of icons and iconography past is being actively encouraged.

Miley Cyrus is heading off down the well-trodden path of over-sexualised image that has been presented 1000 times before and is well known to end in ruin at least half the time. Even Kylie has got in on the act, kissing Ana Matronic from the Scissor Sisters; a direct echo of Madonna and Britney’s “lesbian” kiss.

Prince Albert of Monaco is doing a karaoke version of his father by marrying an American celeb, who is a pale imitation of Grace Kelly. And then there’s the Princes, William and Harry: William is currently back with Kate Middleton, whom the press insist shares much in common with his mother, Princess Diana; Harry is off clearing mines in a bid to be like his mother. A Freudian could no doubt get some considerable mileage from the undercurrents created by the media’s presentation of them.
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Why Tiger Woods PR disaster could scare brands off sports stars for good

Another piece, by me, on the Tiger Woods brand disintegration has appeared in Guardian Online’s Media section. It looks at the way that sports endorsement has been shifting away from volatile and risky sports stars, and at where the big money is settling in the aftermath of the Tiger Woods PR meltdown.

“Let’s get one thing straight: Tiger’s situation is no ordinary brand collapse. This is the high watermark for individual brand disintegration. It’s not of massive media interest just because of the girls; the attendant hoo-ha surrounding Tiger’s spectacular brand disintegration has been heightened to such an extraordinary degree because of the high level of brand protection surrounding A-list celebrities and sporting giants.”

To read the full article, click here.

Risking the Tiger Woods Economy

I was asked to comment on the fallout from Tiger Woods’s bad week in the press by the Guardian last week – the resulting article appears in today’s Media section and online under the headline In Need of a Tigerish Attorney. I took a critical look at the way he and his lawyer, Mark NeJame, are handling the story. Here’s an excerpt:

“Tiger Woods’s nasty bump on the head after his car’s tussle with a fire hydrant has rendered the golfer mostly speechless. It’s all very well that he’s admitted “transgressions” and muttered an apology, but at the heart of the press release he put out is a cry for silence and privacy. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the Orlando attorney Mark NeJame, who has made his name defending drug offenders and people accused of murder, is the man behind this strategy. The ‘Johnnie Cochran of Central Florida’ has thrown his weight behind the Tiger Woods brand at the formerly squeaky-clean golfer’s darkest hour.

“Attorneys are the new breed of tough image protector – PR spin technicians are losing out to hard-nosed lawyers. But will NeJame’s strategy help his client to regain his flawless veneer of celebrity? Woods’s ignominy is fast becoming one of 2009′s top trending topics and has exposed the media-shy golfer to the dark side of ‘improperganda’.”

To read the full article, click here.

I was also asked for my opinion on the Tiger Woods affair and whether or not he can rebuild his brand’s reputation by Channel 4 News – to read the article, click here.

Tiger Not Yet Out of the Woods

I was asked by the Times what could save Tiger Woods’ reputation in the wake of the revelations that he has, as he put it in his guarded press release the other day, “transgressed”.

I told them that the next step for Woods could be a public display of contrition, perhaps in a television interview. He certainly needs to let people in behind the veneer of perfection and let the public – and the press – see that he is human after all. It worked for David Beckham – his brand was always built on his home life as well as his sporting career and he has survived a number of incautious moments in the last 12 years.

To read the full article, click here.

The News of the World: Tapping on Heaven’s Door?

It seems, of late, that sleaze is a gift worth giving and that it’s for life, not just for Christmas or for politicians. The latest example – the News of the World phone tapping scandal – is, in Variety’s slanguage, a “dramedy”. It has the potential for seriously succulent consequences, which might be deeply costly for News International. The potential scale of the scandal is enormous.

Most agents and celebrities will be trying to find out if Nick Davies’ research is robust, wondering if they are one of the thousand celebrities whose phones were hacked. If nothing else, the alleged espionage will result in a welter of wealthier celebrities – all thanks to Davies’s diligence.

These are dark times for executives in the Wapping gulag. The sound of gnawing of fingernails will do nothing to deaden the relentless hum of prurient, smug outrage from the celebrity commentariat. For some battle-scarred PR flaks it will come as no surprise that the tabloids have deployed the dark arts of espionage to root out succulent showbiz sweetmeats.

But, from my standpoint, I am expecting the hacking scandal to empower prominent celebrities to wreak legal havoc in a bout of retrospective revenge. Wasn’t it Edward Gibbon who said: “Revenge is profitable, gratitude is expensive”? Celebrities will certainly be riffing on the first part of that quote in the coming months – the genie is about to be escape the bottleneck of secrecy and those affected will almost certainly start suing News International.

I guess that the News of the World will struggle to contain the details of the Taylor settlement, the details of which they have, to date, been able to withhold from the public domain. Once out, however, the paper will be forced to pay out and the ensuing costs will cripple the title. I expect a snowstorm of writs and a couple of spectacular court cases – all of which will make the News of the World look very feeble. Many celebrities will want to follow the Taylor example and will be eager and greedy to extract their own a six figure sums – I know that various high profile legal figures have already attempted to discover who the targets were.

It’s a fact that many misguided public figures feel that their treatment by the likes of News Of the World, who leverage mundane and routine facts and turn them into highly pejorative and prejudicial reports, is entirely unjustified. To achieve monetary reparation for what they see as unfair treatment will certainly be a revenge of sorts. And the paper has played into their hands.

But can you image the chaos the likes of Max Mosley, David Beckham, Gordon Ramsey or even Max Clifford, aggrieved and determined to get some reparation, might create if they can prove that the News of the World has gained access to their phone messages? Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but I’m certain it’ll be heating it up in the microwave of public attention soon enough.

The wrath of a celebrity is impossible to underestimate. There is an apocryphal tale about a celebrity crimper, apoplectic that he had been turned over by the News of the World. To ease the pain he created an effigy of Andy Coulson out of a teddy bear, which he threw it into the bathtub, doused it with lighter fluid, and set it on fire in a fit of voodoo celebrity therapy. Now it is possible that he will be calling Messrs Schillings instead to achieve a more satisfactory – and conventional – form of retribution; a financial sting.

The likely consequence of this potentially seismic activity is that the world of celebrity will have the upper hand in tabloid land in the future. Journalistic research will have to rebooted and the honourable profession will need their own PR to rebuild a tarnished reputation. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next.

Borkowski