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?

Lady Gaga’s Latest Revolution

 Lady Gaga’s Latest Revolution

The PR Verdict: A (PR Perfect) for Lady Gaga.

Once quoted as saying “Pop stars shouldn’t eat,” Lady Gaga – arguably the most famous pop star in the world – certainly seemed to practice what she preached. She probably wore more food in her (in)famous meat dress than she actually ingested. Lately, that has changed. While Gaga’s fashion statements always make headlines, the media recently hinted at what may be her most daring look of all: 25 extra pounds.

The media quickly circulated a picture of the allegedly padded pop star, accompanying it with words like “fat” and “heavy” – though not “Photoshopped,” as the pic was obviously fake. Still, the reaction was hardly positive,and although no recent photos of Gaga have yet surfaced, the consensus is that she is now more happily proportioned than ever before.

Lady Gaga rewrote the book on how a star can forge a connection with her fans. Turning fattening lemons into PR lemonade, Gaga’s website Littlemonsters.com now features a forum called Body Revolution. “Today I join the BODY REVOLUTION,” Gaga writes on a photo of herself in bra and panties. The forum has already been filled with photos of Gaga fans dealing not just with overweight but diseases, mastectomies, and other physical maladies they were previously ashamed of. “Thank you, Gaga, for inspiring me to be brave.” they write.  Distance, denial? Not for Mother Monster and her Little Monsters.

The PR Verdict: A (PR Perfect) for Lady Gaga. Whether her weight gain was intentional or accidental, and is temporary or permanent, she has found another way to forge a deep connection with her legion of fans and make a splashy PR statement.

The PR Takeaway: Why deny? Perceived flaws can be PR gold when spun the right way. Instead of going on a crash diet to shed the added weight, Gaga turned it into a tool for good – and good PR. She revealed that she has been bulimic since her teen years, says she is happy at her current weight (recent photos would be nice), and has launched an interactive campaign with a positive message. Pure PR gold that will be monstrously successful.

What’s your PR Verdict?

Justin Bieber and Dinner with Mommie

justin bieber 02 300x207 Justin Bieber and Dinner with Mommie

The PR Verdict: “F” for Justin Bieber.

Does anyone, apart from pubescent teenage girls, find Justin Bieber even vaguely interesting?  Not really, might be the inevitable response.  While the 18-year-old singer continues to enjoy extraordinary popularity in his target demographic, his PR minders have obviously been wondering if they should explore further afield.  Cue an interview in the latest edition of GQ Magazine.

On paper the interview made complete sense.  How can we make Justin seem more interesting to another demographic? Why not young(ish), fashion conscious men who might want to hear more about him?  “How about a sit down interview with GQ?” must have been the excitement at the morning meeting.  Let’s see what we can arrange!

Bieber did the interview.  Nice enough. But the bad news is that it did nothing more than reinforce his image as a young kid, taken by surprise by his own success.  GQ describes him as ‘ a very small human being’ who resembles the Star Wars super hero Luke Skywalker,   “if he had his own perfume line”.  The interview was finally completed, after having been rearranged multiple times to squeeze in dinner with his mommie.

The PR Verdict:  “F” for a failed strategy.  It will take more than an interview with GQ to make him into the bad boy of music.  And next time don’t mention dinner with mommie.

PR TAKEAWAY:  Give a journalist something new to write about, otherwise the default content will be what has been written already.   This was an interview searching for a subject matter.  Bieber (all of 18) was unable to identify a cause, issue or romantic interest that would takes his profile to the Mickey Rourke or Sean Penn level.  GQ concluded the interview by opining that for Bieber “manhood can wait”.   Sadly , this interview was at best five years too early.

To read the interview click here.