Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: Celebrity, Inc. by Jo Piazza

From $10,000 tweets to making money in the afterlife, a recovering gossip columnist explores the business lessons that power the Hollywood Industrial Complex

Why do celebrities get paid so much more than regular people to do a job that seems to afford them the same amount of leisure time as most retirees? What do Bush-era economics have to do with the rise of Kim Kardashian? How do the laws of supply and demand explain why the stars of Teen Mom are on the cover of Us Weekly? And how was the sale of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s baby pictures a little like a street drug deal? After a decade spent toiling as an entertainment journalist and gossip columnist, Jo Piazza asks the hard questions about the business behind celebrity.

Make no mistake: Celebrity is an industry. Never in the course of human history has the market for celebrities been as saturated as it is today. Nearly every day most Americans will consume something a celebrity is selling—a fragrance, a sneaker, a song, a movie, a show, a tweet, or a photo in a magazine.

With the benefits of Piazza’s unique access to the celebrity market, Celebrity, Inc. explains in detail what generates cash for the industry and what drains value faster than a starlet downs champagne—in twelve fascinating case studies that tackle celebrities the way industry analysts would dissect any consumer brand.

I've always wondered what it would be like to be a celebrity who gets paid a ton of money by making movies, shows, music, commercials or appearances. It seems like such an easy way to get rich. Celebrity, Inc. tells us otherwise.

Celebrity, Inc. contains 12 essays about things like celebrity babies, Spencer Pratt, Paris Hilton, American Idol and the Kardashians.

There's more to being a celebrity than what we see on television. In a way, you could say that sometimes, celebrities are treated as commodities. Even their babies' pictures are fought over and bought. There's a lot of interesting things here that I wasn't aware of, such as that Oscar winners aren't always chosen based entirely on merit and that some companies actually create campaigns in order to boost their film's chance of winning an Oscar. As for the celebrities, I had no idea that the Kardashians are so hardworking and have great work ethic. Spencer Pratt, on the other hand, is just how he appears on TV.

This is very well-researched book with lots of footnotes. However, it's more than a celebrity lifestyle book; it's also a great business strategy book.

Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Media for the e-copy.

  1. It's well-researched.
  2. You learn more about the machinations of Hollywood.
  3. It's inspiring.
  1. There are a lot of facts and figures.
Kelly Clarkson, one of the few superstars the show has created, exhibited the perfect slow unraveling underdog narrative.
  1. You like mixing business with pleasure.
  2. Celebrities fascinate you.
  3. You're curious about how fame works and how to achieve it.



Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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