(Written by Alexandre Lacas)
Unless you’re from another planet or you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, everyone knows who the Kardashian family is. Whether it’s because of their 4 different but pretty similar reality TV shows or countless tabloid covers, they seem to have made a place in our lives. Last week, I came across a cover page of Us weekly (okay, yes, I admit that I read this type of trash every now and then; blame it on my guilty pleasures I guess?) and it was advertising ‘The latest Kardashian event…’ where Kris, the mom, manager and the one responsible for turning her family into a multimillion dollar industry was now officially separated from her husband Bruce Jenner after 22 years of marriage. As I was reading the article I thought to myself, who cares? What makes this family so special that we like to feel involved in every step of their life? Whether it’s Kim Kardashian’s new baby with hip hop superstar Kanye West or 72-day union to Kris Humphries or Khloe Kardashian’s troubled marriage with NBA player Lamar Odom; we all love to hate, talk and secretly wish we lived their lifestyle. But really, why is that? How this controversial family made its way to the top of popular culture and into our lives.
In a 2010 ABC interview by Barbara Walters, she called out the family saying that ‘they are famous for being famous’ (which, let’s face it, is kind of true) and ‘that they can’t really sing, they can’t act’. So why then are they so relevant? The answer is BRANDING. In marketing, branding is defined as the process of creating a unique image into the mind of the consumer in order to create purchasing loyalty. But branding is not the only factor in here, it’s all a big question of marketing, timing, little bit of luck and how you can turn your name into a multimillion dollar brand. Nowadays, having talent is not necessary in order to ‘make it’ in Hollywood. The principal requirement that people in the industry are looking for is whether this person has the special star quality that can be used and turned into a brand. When Kim K’s sex tape with rap singer Ray J came out in 2008, she was already known as the Paris Hilton substitute and wannabe best friend replacement for Nicole Richie. In other words, she was a nobody hanging out trying to fit into the A-list world. They were spotted out together all the time. When the scandal wound down over the overrated tape, the attention was now on Kim and people were noticing her for something other than being a sidekick in Paris Hilton’s entourage. That’s when Kris Jenner/Kardashian stepped in with the help of radio and TV producer Ryan Seacrest and saw this as an opportunity. A fantastic opportunity to turn the Kardashian name into a wealthy corporation. By 2010, their name and corporation was evaluated at 65 million USD. Now, several years later, the Kardashian name counts a total of 4 reality TV shows (such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians -now in its 8th season- and 3 other similar spin offs: Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, Kourtney and Kim Take New York and Khloé and Lamar). Rumour has it that the youngest ones, Kendal and Kylie Jenner, are undergoing negotiations for their own show.
The madness does not stop there. They have also countless products such as clothing lines (with important stores like Sears, PacSun and their own store called Dash), a variety of beauty products like perfume and nail polish as well as multiple others. Whether we love or hate them and wish that their 15 seconds of fame would end; they are everywhere and they have succeeded in becoming internationally known. They have taken over the world of media using the ‘talk about it in bad or talk about it in good but just talk about it’ effect to their advantage. In my opinion, the Kardashians are not going anywhere for the next few years. They will be in our faces, still relevant to pop culture with their multitude of products until they hit the saturation point. They will then either crash and burn, cash out their millions of dollars or find some way to transform their brand. But if we look at their track record, I’m sure ‘momager’ Kris Jenner will find a way to keep them relevant and around the Hollywood scene. Who knows, maybe they will use the media circus surrounding her separation to create a new show called ‘Keeping up with Kris Jenner’s divorce’.
Tell me what you think, I’m more than interested to know your opinion on why the Kardashians are so relevant.
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