08 June 2023

Celebs are using their personal brand to make bold statements – and we’re here for it.

Mike Robb

We are seeing more and more celebrities and influencers using their presence (or noticeable lack of it) to hijack high-impact events to draw attention to important and much bigger conversations. They are using their personal brands to make bold statements – and we’re here for it.

Recently, we saw Ukrainian influencer Ilona Chernobai take a bold stand at Cannes Film Festival. Using her moment on the red carpet, as the world’s media snapped away, she covered herself in fake blood whilst wearing a dress in the colours of the Ukrainian flag. Although she was promptly escorted off the carpet, Chernobai confirmed via Instagram her actions were to serve a reminder of what is happening in Ukraine and that the people still living there must not be forgotten. The pictures have since gone viral, and the message is clear – there are more important things than a red-carpet event.

Source: Glamour Magazine

At last month’s Met Gala it wasn’t so much what happened on the red carpet that caught our attention (apart from Jared Leto and Doja Cat’s literal interpretations of the theme!) but the notable number of A-list celebs that were not in attendance and the groundswell of conversation happening online. Many celebrities, including Jameela Jamil, criticised the decision to have controversial designer Karl Lagerfeld as its honouree. Jamil took to Instagram to talk about how the event highlighted the “selective” nature of cancel culture with so many people choosing this moment to turn a blind eye to his past behaviour.

And whilst she did in fact attend the event, Lizzo gave the ultimate f**k you to Lagerfeld by dressing herself in the classic black that he loved, dripping in pearls which he loved, and eating McDonalds. Lagerfeld had said he only exclusively employed thin models to walk in his shows and star in his campaigns, regularly fat shaming women. Model Irina Shayk threw further shade by breaking Lagerfeld’s fashion rules and wore sweatpants, which the designer called ‘a sign of defeat’, to the afterparty.

Source: People Magazine

We then saw similar events occur at the King’s Coronation, with speculation that the big-hitters like Ed Sheeran, Adele, Harry Styles and even The Spice Girls had all passed on the opportunity to perform at the Sunday concert due to the Royal Family’s recent ‘PR disasters’.

So, what does this mean for PRs?

When working with talent, the alignment of their values to your client’s brand is something that must always be front of mind. Celebs and top tier influencers no longer hop from one brand partnership to the next or simultaneously promote products or experiences that could be entirely contradictory. They are ensuring that they honour their personal brand in the businesses they choose to partner with, or put their name to, and the places they are seen.

When pitching to an agent you need to show you have done your homework. Due diligence and research are key here, you need to know how the campaign, product or brand messages directly match with the values and personal brand of your target talent and why it is a cause they will champion.

And, ultimately, working with talent that prioritises their personal brand and authenticity will cost more – but it’s worth it. For talent, it means fewer but better partnerships – we are increasingly speaking to celebrities who pride themselves on only taking on a couple of brand campaigns a year.

For brands, this means working with talent who genuinely believe in your product, service, or campaign. With celebrities and influencers not afraid to make noise about things they care about, it’s more important than ever to ensure you use the right people in the right way.