Even Snooki Wrote a Book

In the world of advertising, television and movies serve as a multifaceted platform. When characters exist in a realistic setting, they live in a world with products, clothing, and cities that reflect ours. The things they wear, foods they eat, and products they use are intentionally chosen by the show creators and can therefore offer partnerships to different industries. While the idea of product placement is nothing new, the role television and movie characters play in real-world marketing and production is constantly evolving with the rise of reality television and social media. Not only does Bart Simpson endorse Snickers, but we now also see our favorite reality stars endorsing their favorite teeth whiteners and detox teas on Instagram. Reality stars’ popularity comes from their “real” life documentation and authenticity, so we are eager to trust their judgment regarding their favorite things. We often forget that stars can be paid upwards of thousands of dollars to endorse products online when integrated marketing is executed smoothly.

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Left: Image via Wetpaint. Right: Image via Smart Tan.

Even more artificial than poorly integrated marketing is the rising trend of self-titled branding. So-called stars who have reached infamy due to drunken antics and catfights are now able to create personal empires by branding anything with their name. Jersey Shore’s Snooki rose from MTV infamy to a businesswoman and entrepreneur through a variety of self-branded products, ranging from self-tanner to dresses to several books. In some ways, this is an admirable trajectory and can inspire others to make a similar career shift. It does, however, prove the disparity between those who are in the public eye and those who are not. I’m sure that there are many Wake students who dream of being published authors but do not have the connections or other means necessary to achieve this, but the moment Snooki decided it would be a lucrative endeavor she was able to complete it. Further, many of these products have little to do with the endorser past their name on the product. They do not participate in the grueling process of design, production, and collaboration, but show up at the end to become the brand. Those who commit their lives to a trade or field only to become a ghostwriter or nameless designer lose their identity behind a more famous and less qualified face. While many people happily accept this tradeoff to reap the monetary benefits, others prefer to maintain their integrity and identity. This creates a convoluted market that favors fame and reach over talent and authenticity.

 

Arianna Gershon

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5 Responses to Even Snooki Wrote a Book

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I agree. I feel like at some point every reality celebrity comes out with at least one book. I find it hard to believe that they are so successful! Especially when the majority of the time, the celebrity had no part in writing the book. Their job is to advertise it and show up to signings. It’s so weird to think that people would rather read about Snooki than something with some authenticity.- Katie Thevenow

  2. mediaphiles says:

    This is a really great point. The term ghostwriter reminded me of how some musicians have people that write their songs but are never given the proper credit or accolades. It’s sad to think that just because the creator is notorious in society that the product can’t flourish. It’s pretty sad

    -Meghan Murphy

  3. mediaphiles says:

    This is really interesting, especially now that there are more platforms for viewing other than television. Now, the internet has grown in popularity and a lot of people have been very successful through the use of sites such as Youtube, Vine, Instagram, etc., which all uses some sort of video platform. With their new found celebrity status, a good majority of celebrities succumb to the trend and publish a book. Many of these books have been reported to be ghostwritten, thus questioning the true substance behind the book. Also, many fans have questioned the value of this method, especially if the book is classified as an autobiography. The person who is supposed to be the subject isn’t writing it at all; therefore, the books that are ghostwritten solidifies the fact that this is more for monetary gain rather than a connection with their audience.
    -Shelby Halliman

  4. mediaphiles says:

    You make such a great point here. It borders on not fair that all of these stars get to try their hand at whatever pleases them while those who work hard are never named for it. I think this is a reflection of how the world today is about connections. You need them. That’s why networks like LinkedIn exist. Sure, you’re not getting the job because you’re displaying drunken antics on television like Snooki, but you may get the job because our uncle’s best friend knows a guy. That’s just how the world tends to work today, which is good for those with connections, and not so good for those without. I had never thought about it in the context of reality stars before though, and I think it really relates.
    Nicolette McCann

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I agree I think it’s very annoying, overwhelming and super predictable when celebrities and characters start to branch out and market themselves all over the place. Often times it’s very inauthentic and of course just a way to make a quick buck. I think that this is such an issue in our media saturated society. Entertainers can’t simply be entertainers but they have to try to make money from every possible avenue that they can. -Courtney Green

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