The power of a well-known luminary can be extraordinary. We have quite a history in the US. Theres Dinah Shore wishing you well in your Chevrolet with her fly away kiss. An early Ronald Reagan transitioning from the golden screen to hawking GEs goods. The Colonel and his chicken, Ronald and his burgers, Liz Taylor and her perfume, even Brooke Shields close to her Calvin Kleins.
The power of a well-known luminary can be extraordinary. We have quite a history in the US. There’s Dinah Shore wishing you well in your Chevrolet with her fly away kiss. An early Ronald Reagan transitioning from the golden screen to hawking GE’s goods. The Colonel and his chicken, Ronald and his burgers, Liz Taylor and her perfume, even Brooke Shields close to her Calvin Kleins.
Today’s testimonials are heavily oriented to sports stars, particularly, those with an Olympics bump and golfers. There is Rory McElroy and Jumeirah Hotels and Phil Michelson with Wyndham. Lord only knows that Tiger Woods without his lapse of good sense would be a pitchman for every product and service known to mankind. Of course, on the local scene, we have our athletes, depending upon the season, promoting local goods. The Patriots, Bruins and Red Sox are forever busy. We sponsors select these figures based upon documented popularity with our audience. It may be because of their performance and stature or maybe just what the persona stands for.
Naturally, the legal contracts for these stars are pretty well layered with expectation and escape language, for they are human, too. Additionally, their appearances on behalf of a sponsor are well scripted. Where the trouble begins is when these folks begin to speak for themselves and their causes. There are no legal boundaries, little coaching or control. This can become quite a debacle on the political stage, where we all have an opinion but may not carry the clout of stardom.
We have just seen this at the Republican Convention in Tampa, FLA, and it was embarrassing and painful, no matter what your political party might be. Clint Eastwood, an icon at 82, brought to the convention floor for some climatic entertainment reason, just disintegrated. I think Clint Eastwood is wonderful, a terrific actor, successful movie producer, director and star, a former mayor of a small California city, Carmel – he has been around. He is also a well-known conservative. His would have brought a very interesting perspective, but he bombed, as they say in the trade. It was bizarre.
In his movies his lines are sparse, issued with thoughtful pause. On that Thursday evening his thoughts were disjointed and flung about aimlessly. What a shame for him, the Republican delegates and the rest of America who were very excited to hear him speak. An unusual opportunity just wasted. You have to shake your head and think what in the world was planned. The teleprompter must have been on break! Sadly, his performance will become part of convention history, grist for late night comedy routines, and a certified “blip” for convention planners. Maybe, the Democrats will roll out Barbra!
It is hard to plan for the unexpected, and we hate to have damage control machinery whirring too frequently. But, it happens, even for the best laid plans. If not orchestrated, the event can run amuck.
We all take a risk with the unscripted and extemporaneous. Most of the time our forays are harmless and often very valuable for the audience to hear – we become human. It is all about managing the message, whether you are a supervisor addressing your employees or a movie star talking to the world.
The great and the near great (like us) need to be acutely aware of our message, whether it be in dire circumstances or the celebratory or just plain every day. Even the best in the cinema business, like Clint Eastwood, can wander off message and become memorable for all the wrong reasons.
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