questionable topic – uneasy matters since 2008

two sides of the coin

Posted in culture, entertainment, PR by questionabletopic on Monday, March 14, 2011

Two and a Half Men Is Better Than None

.. A lot changed in my life with that decision. And I do not regret it. The movie and television business are filled with some of the most wonderful and talented people you could ever know. It is also the rock under which you find the biggest, lyingest, thievingest scumbags on Earth. (They tend to be the ones that are not in any craft or union related to actually making a movie.) However, one of the great oddities in show business is how someone you respect can have a good experience with someone you loathe. Conan had a tough time reconciling Jeff Zucker’s decisions. Maybe I would have too. Meanwhile, Jeff has only been supportive of me during my recent years at NBC. Go figure.

Conan has moved on and his great talent is undiminished by his difficult experiences. I had wanted to say to him back then what I will now offer to Charlie. You can’t win. Really. You can’t. When executives at studios and networks move up to the highest ranks, they are given a book. The book is called How to Handle Actors. And one principle held dear in that book is that no actor is greater than the show itself when the show is a hit. And, in that regard, they are often right. Add to that the fact that the actor who is torturing their diseased egos is a drug addled, porn star-squiring, near Joycean Internet ranter, and they really want you to go.

Granted, it didn’t get real until you insulted them. And your suit may have real grounds.

.. Sober up, Charlie. And get back on TV, if it’s not too late. This is America. You want to really piss off Chuck and Warner Brothers and CBS? Beg for America’s forgiveness. They will give it to you.

 

Bad Publicity… and Charlie Sheen

While popular wisdom is that any publicity is good publicity, academic research has largely shown that negative word of mouth hurts company brand and sales. For example, negative movie reviews decrease box office receipts to the point that Hollywood pundits believe that it is “almost impossible to recover from bad buzz.” Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone estimated that negative publicity cost the move Mission Impossible 3 more than $100M in ticket sales.

Despite this, there are a surprising number of counter-examples. The Wall Street Journal reported that a wine described “as redolent of stinky socks” increased sales 5% after it was reviewed by a popular website. Similarly, Hotels.com reported a “300 percent increase in requests for information about Kazakhstan” after the movie Borat made relentless fun of the country.

It turns out that bad publicity might even be a reliable way to generate increased traffic – and sales – on the Web. In an article entitled ‘A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web,’ the NY Times provides a horrifying account of how one on-line eyewear site encouraged customer complaints to improve their Google page rank. The higher a site is in Google results, the more likely someone will click on it. More clicks lead to more sales. This is new, and obviously controversial, approach to search engine optimization.

.. In short, as a well-known brand, Charlie Sheen should worry but the stinky obscure wine can count on increased sales.

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