Gaga’s Ho-Hum Album Sales

 Gagas Ho Hum Album Sales

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Lady Gaga.

The launch of Lady Gaga‘s third album, ARTPOP, continues: with events such as a shopping tie-in with retail clothing giant H&M  a massive artRave album release party , the chatter of the spectacles and the so-called “flying dress” space suit – early  reports indicate that the mega-marketed album is, well, kind of a flop.

So how has ARTPOP performed? The album did debut at number one on the Billboard music charts, with 258,000 in sale and Pitchfork.com provided comparative numbers: 250-300,000 is typical for chart-topping pop stars but Gaga’s previous album, Born This Way sold an astonishing 1.1 million albums in its first week of release.

Theories abound: sales may have been affected by sharing limelight with mega-star Katy Perry, comeback kid Britney Spears, and Disney child gone wild Miley Cyrus. Her songs are not as strong as before, her dress  is not as shocking and finally the suggestion that she is overexposed. Will these ho-hum sales be a blip for Gaga, or a slide down from Olympus?

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Lady Gaga.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Ride out the rough times. With innovation comes imitators; at first, outrageous Gaga was considered an innovator by those too young to remember Madonna’s cone bra. Those falling from great heights should refrain from public panicked gestures that signal flailing, such as Gaga recently firing her longtime manager. Carry on as planned and ride out the storm. After all, Madonna’s still around, isn’t she?

Miley Cyrus is Crazy (Like a Fox)

 Miley Cyrus is Crazy (Like a Fox)

The PR Verdict: “A” (PR Perfect) for Miley Cyrus (left, as Hannah Montana; right, her new image).

Former Disney star Miley Cyrus has grown up very quickly lately. The teen singer and actress previously shot to mega-stardom as the star of Hannah Montana. Back then ratings were high and Cyrus’s albums hit the top ten, with movies and multiple merchandising tie-ins. Miley was everywhere.

But as her recent MTV Video Awards performance can attest, those days are way over. With a close-cropped platinum ‘do, a barely-there outfit, and a wildly suggestive tongue, Miley sent a message: Hannah Montana no more.

Chat shows talked to experts and outraged parents about what happened to this teen idol. The truth? It’s not insanity, drugs, or child stardom gone awry. It’s a combination of savvy star and manager using an old PR concept: sex sells. Cyrus’s new song “Wrecking Ball” has Cyrus, naked, riding a wrecking ball while tonguing the chain in the video: woah. Result? Millions of views, morning shows full of talk, and a star laughing all the way to the bank.

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) for Miley Cyrus. If the aim of one’s career is celebrity (rather than artistry), it matters less what people say than that they’re talking about you.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Keep it simple. There is never an easy way to go from teen sensation to twenty-something star; ask Justin Beieber. Cyrus cut to the chase with a series of drastic measures – chopping off her hair, dying it, and making provocative videos, which are the celebrity equivalent of sexy photos. In short, she’s doing everything her formerly teen audience is doing in their real lives. This awkward transition is less train wreck than well-orchestrated PR symphony.

The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners and Losers

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: A (PR PERFECT) to Adele for reportedly declining a seven-figure offer from publisher HarperCollins to write a memoir. The 24-year old superstar allegedly described herself as wanting to live a bit more before chronicling her life – imagine that! In turning down the deal, Adele is taking a different tack than many of her peers, including Miley Cyrus, who penned a tell-all at 16; Justin Bieber, who at 19 has two memoirs under his belt; and, at 28, ancient Katy Perry, whose autobiography is due out this year. Kudos to Adele for wisely realizing that she’ll likely have a more interesting story to tell – and sell – in a few years’ time.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to the PR team for Christine Lagarde of the IMF. Red faces at the PR office of Lagarde, who failed to make the recent list of Time Magazine’s top 100 people. The usual suspects were there, including Kim Jong Un of North Korea, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, and even Chrstina Aguilera of talent reality show The Voice. But the rariefied list strangely didn’t include the widely travelled head of the IMF, who has been busy trying to save the euro and halt the ongoing European banking crisis. We doubt it bothered Lagarde herself, but it was a curious omission that someone in the IMF PR department might want to take a look at before the next staff meeting.

BRADLEYCOPPER 150x150 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO Bradley Cooper.  The actor voted “Sexiest Man Alive” by People  in 2011 has just given an interview to Details that was immediately picked up by surprised media everywhere. The news hook? Bradley lives with his mom. Apparently he moved in with his mother Gloria following the death of his father two years ago and since then, they live in rooms next door to one another. Admirable though that may be, it does work against some of the PR positioning as one of Hollywood’s leading men. Explaining to Details, Cooper said, “She’s in the next room. But here’s the thing: She’s a cool chick. We can hang, and she can roll with the punches.” Bradley’s PR presumably winced when reading…

 

 

Yet Another Bieber Blooper

 Yet Another Bieber Blooper

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for the Justin Bieber.

Teenage pop idol Justin Bieber caught the full wrath of the Internet this week during a visit to Amsterdam. The Canadian superstar, currently on tour in Europe, visited the Anne Frank House to view the tiny attic where Frank and her family hid for two years from the Nazis before being discovered and sent to death camps. Writing in the guest book, Bieber said the visit was “truly inspiring” and that he hoped Anne would have been “a Belieber,” the moniker given to his fans. Frankly, no one could “beliebe” he left the narcissistic scribble; as UK site Sugarscape put it, “The world smacks their hands to their foreheads.”

The gaffe follows months of questionable behavior for the young singer: showing up late to concerts or canceling, fainting at a London appearance, purportedly smoking marijuana at a party, scuffling with the paparazzi, and allegedly spitting at a neighbor.

The antics have begun to take a toll on the Bieber Brand, with media speculating that Biebs is on the verge of a Britney Spears-esque meltdown. Polls suggest his likability factor is suffering: teens are finding him less attractive, and parents are seeing him as “rude.” The clean image that helped launch Bieber’s successful career is starting to look rather sullied.

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for the Justin Bieber. He hasn’t lost any sponsors yet, but more bad-boy behavior could change that.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: It’s not easy being a teen, even less easy being a teen brand. The transition from adolescent to young adult seems to be one of the rockiest roads for celebrities, and one need only read up on the cautionary tales of Spears, Miley Cyrus, and Lindsay Lohan for guidance on what not to do during this unpredictable time. Just as parents must do for their unruly offspring, Bieber’s handlers need to keep the lines of communication open with their young star and stress that the consequences of his actions will become more serious as he ages. There’s more to lose than celebrity status; Justin can beliebe that.