How To Be A Star
Personality is king. Identity is king. Presence is king!
The last king is the most valuable. If we look at the most recognisable figures in the world these are people who are constantly on our screens, endorsing headphones, persuading us to buy their apps, profiting on our FOMO, adopting indigenous tribe babies. Some are musicians, some miscellaneously famous, all entertainers.
If we zoom in on the UK, these are people in the entertainment section of newspapers, selling us crisps, they host, appear or sit on a panel of the nations’ Friday/Saturday night shows. They sashay from one TV channel to another via a spread in OK then captured holding a Vodka bottle on Daily Mail.
Depending on the product, season and the demographic [insert famous person] wants to market to, you can quite precisely triangulate which of the (only) 3 evening talk shows will play host.
This intentional unavoidability is called ‘presence’.
Have you ever thought, why do I keep seeing this person, how do I know the lyrics to this tragedy, why do I have the urge to don an orange jumpsuit. Contrary to popular belief, you have no choice. Superstars are created by repeatedly reminding us of their existence.
Let me paint a picture. Imagine you have a friend named Bryan.
Bryan is a good friend, although it’s predominately a one-sided relationship, you feel as though Bryan always has the most comforting words. There can be times, however, when Bryan can be quite full on. On these occasions you ignore Bryan, you (temporarily) unfollow him on social media, you change your WhatsApp image to a black screen and make your status ‘ghosting’ for good measure. And it works, you no longer see nor hear from Bryan and that’s exactly how you like/want it for now.
Now imagine if Bryan had a machine behind him, whose primary purpose was to remind you of Bryan. He’ll pop up in your newspaper, He’s schmoozing on one of the three talk show sofas, he’s kissing babies and high fiving royalty. Bryan is completely unavoidable.
At this point you’ll either concede to his charm and crawl right back to admiring him – unless of course the force feeding makes you drift even further away – either way, you still acknowledge him, so he still wins. Tough luck.
We, as the audience, do not go out of our way to see, find, and stalk celebrities. They ask us to, they bulldoze themselves in to our lives, bombarding us with their presence. But this is the formula.
A million views alone is awesome if you want to go viral, but it’s this omnipresent, non-negotiable presence that creates a magnetic bank rolling, cash flowing star.
Why is this important?
To persuade us to buy, like and invest our time and resources in to them, they must create an illusion. An illusion of credibility, likeability and enchantment. An illusion which can only be built if the necessary framework exists. A radio station to play your ‘credible’ music, a talk show sofa for you to prove your ‘likeability’, a stage for you to display your talent theatrics, magazines to describe your childhood struggle with alcoholism, and let’s not forget the quintessential entourage to reinforce your ‘enchantment’.
Yes talent plays a small part but moths are attracted to the light. Talent isn’t the light. The illusion is the light!
The lack of infrastructure, disallows the celebrity to blossom, thus stifling the business. Unless you can smile awkwardly next to Mary Berry on one of those sofas, explain your weight loss tips in one of those magazines or add a guitar player to your act, it’ll be a struggle to become omnipresent.
Unless of course you want to ‘sell out’.