Don’t Take Celebrity Political Endorsements Seriously


FLICKR Gage Skidmore| PHOTO COURTESY Sarah Palin has recently come out and voiced support for Donald Trump.
FLICKR Gage Skidmore| PHOTO COURTESY Sarah Palin has recently come out and voiced support for Donald Trump.Celebrities are not real people. They are products.

Yes, there are real people behind these products, but these are not the same people the public sees. Celebrities, especially A-listers, have an entire public relations team dedicated to shaping their brand.

It is important to keep this in mind whenever a celebrity endorses something, especially if it is politics. Being that we are in an election year, everybody needs to be aware of this.

Like all products, celebrities are marketed towards specific demographics. An easy way for a celebrity to appeal to their target demographic is to endorse a political viewpoint that their demographic already agrees with.

From the public’s eye it may appear that the celebrity is engaging in political activism. In reality, it is just a form of advertising for their brand (and a cheap and effective one at that).

Sometimes all it requires is a Twitter or Instagram profile that a celebrity can use as a public forum for expressing their viewpoint. It is such a subtle form of advertising that most people fail to recognize it as such.

Celebrities will, on occasion, promote controversial viewpoints that reflect negatively on their brand. There are a couple reasons they do this.

First, negative attention is still a form of name recognition. Celebrities are known for outlandish behavior anyway, so controversy is not as harmful to their career as you may think.

The other reason is that it is a simple cost-benefit analysis. If an advocacy organization is willing to pay a celebrity enough money to justify harming their image, the celebrity will endorse any viewpoint you want them to.

Remember, money is king in the entertainment industry. The public’s perception of celebrities is just a means towards this end.

Every celebrity is under this kind of pressure to maintain their brand, especially the ones that we think are above this influence. If the public thinks a celebrity is above this influence, it probably means they have a better public relations team than their competition.

Bill Cosby is a great example of how effective these PR teams are. I (among many others) was under the impression that he was a respectable family man. Given his recent scandals, it is apparent that we have misjudged his character.

The question we must ask is: why did we misjudge his character? I think his PR team is responsible for this misconception. I am not sure what they did, but it was enough to give us a positive impression of Cosby.

We should always be skeptical of a celebrity’s intentions whenever they endorse a political viewpoint. This is especially true for the ones who have made careers out of being political, such as John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Matt Stone, Trey Parker or even John Lennon.

If we stop being skeptical, then it means our hearts and minds can be sold to the highest bidder.

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