Branding, Blow-outs and how a trip to the SAG awards changed what I think of celebrities

I read trashy magazines.

Not at the hair salon, not when I’m getting my nails done. I get them, delivered to my house, once a month. And when I get them I place them on the floor next to bed. I don’t read them right away. I like to get up on a Saturday morning and read them when everyone is still asleep. Or I save them for plane rides or road trips when I can devote all of my attention to what dry shampoo this celebrity is using and who just broke up with who only to hook up with someone new the next week.

So when my sister got us tickets to the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards (SAG Awards) Red Carpet I was in — all in.

I would see Jen in the flesh not on the pages of that magazine. Sophia would be within an arms length, and Bradley Cooper? He’d probably fall in love at first sight.

It was hot on SAG Sunday. Eight of my friends and I eagerly woke up at an ungodly hour to eat brunch, down mimosas and get to the parking garage on time so we could catch the shuttle to the awards, primping all the way.

Once there, palm trees framed the red carpet and the fan bleachers were positioned directly across from the media. And then, all at once — fashionably late —  the celebs arrived.

Me on SAG's red carpet.

Me on SAG’s red carpet.

Some I knew, others I didn’t.

The ones I didn’t know were often young, 25 or under. And they had at least one person with them, but most times, two. A publicist, an
agent, I don’t know but the young star would avoid eye contact with the fans and instead listen to the wise words of their handler. Us
crazy fans were yelling and waving, and the starlet would avert their eyes from the crowd that watches their show and instead wait for instructions from someone clutching a clipboard.

The seasoned pros — and I’m talking Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Robert Duvall, Kevin Costner — people that have been walking the red carpet for years, either didn’t have people with them, or their person was instructed to stay way, way behind them or in front of them.

These veteran stars were all smiles. Confident, waving, signing autographs if they had the time. They knew that this — right here on the red carpet — this was PR.

The fans in the stands were taking pics, tweeting, posting at that very moment. And everyone — especially celebs — know how important word of mouth is. If every person there had a social network of 150 people and there were 300 average Joes there, that’s 45,000 ticket buyers that feel like they personally had an encounter with that celeb, through their friend. That’s powerful, that’s unique and that’s free.

There was a certain late-arriving “It Girl” who I couldn’t even see at first. She was surrounded by a sea of black suits; at least 12 people — who knows what their job titles were.

Her self-created crowd parted for just a moment and we were suddenly gifted with a glimpse of her. But then she was off — after posing for the cameras for no more than 30 seconds; other celebs spent at least three minutes basking in flashbulbs.

She was a seasoned celeb, a red carpet favorite. Her ‘brand’ was “easy going,” “relatable,” “accessible.” But her in-person reality was the exact opposite of that. She quickly acknowledged the crowd with a flutter waves, posed for cameras and was off. It was disappointing.

“You know, I wouldn’t have thought she was like that,” said one fan to me.

“Why?” I inquired.

“She seems so friendly, so no-fuss. That was all fuss,” he said.


Sofia and Joe, Matthew, Reese, Meryl, Julia

Sofia and Joe, Matthew, Reese, Meryl, Julia

Celebs have a brand. There are certain people you expect to see in romantic comedies. You know who is going to play the bad guy and often the role of bombshell is going to be filled by a certain group of women. Sure, there are break outs and cross overs. Comedians tired of type-casting have made the bold move over to drama even suspense and it’s either worked or not worked.

A celeb’s brand is built by what they wear, how they talk, the jobs they take and how they are in interviews.

Is this really all that different from you?


A couple of amazing things happened for me at the SAG awards:
1.) I discovered that celebs looked like real people — that have really good stylists, hair people and make up artists.
I don’t think any of them were more beautiful than that gorgeous girl you saw at the grocery store last week.

2.)  What you put out there is what you get.
When a celeb stopped and talked to us, was thankful and appreciative, our collective, bleacher-filled love grew. When that person walked away we all would say, “He is so nice,” “So handsome,” “What a talent.” It made an impression on us. And one that won’t soon be forgotten. I’m still looking at my pictures from the red carpet and constantly checking FACEBOOK to see if I’ve gotten even more comments on my celeb posts.

3.) I talked to Jeff Goldblum.

Tall drink of water AKA Jeff Goldblum.

Tall drink of water AKA Jeff Goldblum.

That’s it.

georgie_hockett_headshot3Georgie Hockett, is VP of Creative Services, and a partner, at The Bookey Group, offering a trifecta offering of  1) sales enablement , 2) elevated by innovative creative and 3) targeted sales leads and network connections. Do you need help with personal branding? Talk to Georgie now.