I recently discovered something
truly shocking I should have suspected about Lindsay Lohan. It’s no duh that her career has been over since 2006. Her various jail stints and rehab vacations have made her “unmarketable” and ultimately unwanted. She has fallen from solidified stardom to… uh… Playboy? Fodder for TMZ jokes?
A recent book out by gossip columnist Jo Piazza says there’s no going back for Lohan anymore and I’m inclined to agree.
“Since those halcyon days various editors have asked me to pre-write obituaries for the consistently downward spiraling Ms. Lohan, just in case she finally went onto that great nightclub in the sky while I was on vacation or taking a nap. It is always good to be prepared. But five years later Lindsay is the hot mess that keeps on messing and not, I argue in my upcoming book Celebrity Inc., to her brand’s best advantage. At this point yet another glimpse at her prematurely aging breasts paying homage to Marilyn Monroe will not reinvigorate Lindsay’s sagging brand and career. The only thing that will save brand Lohan from total Kristy McNichol-dom is if she truly channels Monroe and actually leaves us for good.”
Harsh? Yes, but Piazza can back up his crassness in terms of brand consistency.
“Brand consistency is the hallmark of a successful product. When brands act erratically, consumers become confused and wary… In just six years, Lohan had gone from being an asset on a project to being a liability…The dirty secret of Hollywood brand management is that no one is unbankable or uninsurable; there is always money and there are always projects for a celebrity brand that is likable and consistent. Lohan had become unlikable and inconsistent. That’s why no one wanted to work with her.”
Sticking to an image or a personal narrative is the key to successful branding. “She didn’t follow the bad-girl narrative, a good-girl narrative, or an uplifting redemption narrative. She couldn’t even stick to a lesbian narrative for the better part of a year.”
But is that reason to claim that her death is the only thing that could save her image? Does her image need “saving”? Piazza explains:
“Today, her brand value, like Michael Jackson’s, has nowhere to go but up in the afterlife. America loves a train wreck, until the moment they don’t anymore. But what America loves more than a comeback is a martyr-someone who literally loses everything, including their life, because of the excesses inherent in a system that was meant to protect and nurture her.”
I don’t think Piazza believes Lindsay should die. Indeed, it would be tragic like Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse, but if you follow the money, it’s not hard to see how one can bank on tragedy.
“Executives within the dead celebrity business refer to the high-net-worth deceased as “delebs,” and today these executives preside over an industry that is valued at more than $800 million a year and growing. The attraction of this segment of the celebrity market is obvious: The dead are the easiest clients to manage. Not only do they not meddle in their business affairs, they won’t get caught with their pants down, drunk-driving, or making a racist remark to TMZ. And in an industry where vast sums are made in merchandise licensing and symbiotic partnerships, dead celebrities have just as much earning power as the living and sometimes more.”
Think about it. Too much money was invest in MJ for his final tour, something had to be capitalized off of his death and the pre-tour film This Is It was the cash cow needed for the dead celeb business. My stomach hurts now.