Monday, March 21, 2011

Celebrities, Culture and a Name Economy By: Brian Moeran

Brian Moeran discusses the effects celebrities have in our society by splitting the essay up into four different sections. A professor in the Department of Intercultural Communication and Management at Copenhagen Business School he is concerned about different social processes dealing with cultural production such as advertising, fashion and media. He uses a theoretical approach by examining the different shifts celebrities have created in the commercial industry. He believes culture and economy are connected and celebrities are the liaison for these industries as they deliver the perspective the company wants to appeal, to the consumers.

Celebrities
"The celebrities are the Names that need no further identification...Wherever they go, they are recognized, and moreover recognized with some excitement and awe," (Morean3).
Celebrities first came about in New York City Cafes towards the end of the 20th century at the time where different classes of people intermingled. Or he says it might have came from the time motion pictures first came about from 1909 through 1914 when names were being circulated with films. Stars were used as promotional tools for films it didn't really matter what they were good at, as long as they were popular and associated themselves with other celebrities to become more exclusive and well-known. Celebrities at the same time go into all different industries such as acting, directing, photography, television commercials and fashion designing, being a part of these other social intermediaries initiates recognition. Ex: Naomi Campbell is a supermodel, cinema, music videos, and publishing.



Celebrities and Advertising
Celebrities are important when they channel meaning from one sphere of culture to another. Celebrities are the strongest source of cultural meaning in the marketing system and for individual consumers. They enjoy recognition being associated with a consumer good while in an advertisement. The first point he makes it that he says there should always be a match between the product and celebrity. John Wayne was a great liaison for Great Western Savings and Loans. He fit the criteria for the company’s image with the western cowboy look. Tigerwoods the greatest golf player is associated with all golf related things, such as Golf Digest and American Golf Association. Various other factors are considered when picking a celebrity such as fashion, beauty, and cosmetics. Credibility and expertise are two factors when choosing a celebrity to market the companies product. The gender, age, class, color and personality all have to fit the targeted consumer as well. Morean states through McCraken that sometimes using celebrities is not good since sometimes the audience only focuses on the celebrity and not the product.




Also with celebrities, companies take a risk on the possibility that a celebrity they endorse will be a part of something controversial that will make the brand look bad. Although when picking a celebrity personality, attractiveness and likeability is looked for, it is noted that consumers do not consider those factors when purchasing products. But celebrities in general do help the global market in getting the brand out worldwide.

Celebrities as Cultural Intermediaries
Celebrities are cultural intermediaries because they are in all different kinds of media linking different cultural spheres together. Celebrities link the commodities, the products with cultural personality linking producers and consumers together by making a product a good that is necessary for everyone in society. They also explain and support the meaning of the commodity and affect the overall aesthetic and design of the advertising campaign.

Celebrity and The Economy
Celebrities help link our cultural surrounding and economy together. For example celebrity endorsements, for Tiger Woods earns up to $50 million a year in endorsements. Kate Moss gets $4Million a year at Calvin Klein only working 100 days. They are also involved in many business themselves as for Madonna has founded her own recording company called the Maverick and Cindy Crawford has her own jewelry line.
Celebrities can be considered as investments as well for example in 1995 when rumors stated that Michael Jordan would be coming back to the Chicago Bulls, the stock prices for the companies he was affiliated with such as McDonalds stated their stock prices sky rocketed and they predicted they would gain $192 million in additional sales from the Value Meals.

Brian Moeran concludes by stating that celebrities are necessary factors in promoting goods and getting the industry running. Economy is interlocked with people, product and organizations; all three need to work together for the economy to run. “Celebrities by the products they endorse and the organization they work for- are involved in a vast operation of social alchemy” (Moeran12).


Moeran, Brian. "Celebrities, Culture and a Name Economy." (2003): 1-18. Print.

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