PR CRISIS: Making An Appearance

Making An Appearance: The Celebrity Guide 

Simply “making an appearance” means so much more when you are a celebrity, or any kind of “known” public figure. Why does it matter? It matters because being spotted escalates and vanishes careers. However, there is a fine line between those who need to be escalated, and those who can never fully vanish.

At special events (premieres, awards shows, high-sponsored parties), publicity teams work with the talent representative to ensure the most successful appearances possible. As a publicist in Hollywood, I’ve been through the mazes of carpet arrivals and step & repeat security.

FYI: A “Step & Repeat” is a small carpet, mostly just a corner sectioned off where the stars take photos in front of posters (also called one-sheets) of the project or sponsor at hand. It’s like a half-carpet, if you will.

I’ve broken down the appearance categories into Carpet and Candid:

Carpet Schedule

It’s a strategy that applies mostly to movie stars. I mean this in the best way, but artists don’t usually pull out on any kind of press – especially carpets. (They still strategize though, like the time Beyonce hired a whole team of professionals to guarantee she didn’t run into Kim Kardashian on the carpet at the last Met Gala.)

>> The stars that skip the carpet / don’t need the press

Then, there are others who, no matter how off the grid they stay, will never be irrelevant. True A-listers like Jen Aniston and Brad Pitt, or controversial stars like
Winona Ryder and Mel Gibson (you get it – huge film icons who have already been granted sustainable careers AND headlines in the tabloids just out of plain curiosity from the world), could never work again and still be talked about. Their “hype” will never fade. These people often skip the carpet because they can. They don’t need to be seen, and more so, don’t want to be seen in that frenzy-of-flashes type of way. After a decade or two, a lot of the mega-stars are just in it for the work, the craft of moviemaking, and genuinely dread the press. At this point, fans are seeing their movies for them… barely the actual movie. They are solid. 









>> The stars that – literally – came to “make an appearance”

Sometimes, people just need to be talked about. It needs to seem as if they are always somewhere important, doing big, exclusive things with big, exclusive people. They may get invited to an event in which they need to take advantage of the press. They don’t even have time to actually attend or interact, but they walk the carpet to obtain the sound bites and photos that will be posted the next morning. Not only does it look good when they are invited to such events, but the photos online keep them active and relevant. Up-and-comers attend every event possible, just looking to gain more credibility and face-time with industry heads and news consumers. They often think about getting their next job more than they think about their film’s success in the box office.

Candid Status

AKA – paparazzi status, or the strategy that does apply to artists/musicians on all levels. The only difference is whether or not they have to send out the media alert on themselves.

FYI: A “Media Alert” is – in it’s official sense – a way to notify the press of an upcoming event where the opportunity for on-the-record coverage will be available. In it’s unofficial sense, a Media Alert is basically just tweeting a location or calling the paparazzi.

Social Media is extremely important for the Candid Status. Notice how Hollywood’s Instagrams capture their best, most fun and glamorous induced lives.

It’s basically a huge popularity contest.

>> The Hounded

Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, any member of a boy band, Taylor Swift… these are the hounded. They don’t (although they still do) have to stir anything up. These guys, and others on the same level of fame, can do minimum promo and still hit #1 on the charts. You think they would take this knowledge and relax. On the music side of this business, numbers are everything. This is the “no publicity is bad publicity” club, just ask Miley Cyrus or Kanye West. Therefore, they go out with the purpose of being surrounded. It’s not hard because they are them. They only thing they have to double up on is security. When they aren’t focused on sales, views, and listens, they exchange their “seen” time for back doors and underground entrances. They only want to be seen at the maximum capacity when it’s beneficial for their current situation.









>> The Seekers

New “Artists To Watch” spend more time trying to be recognized. Even some decently well-established artists will make a scene if they have new music coming out. Controversy can be a catalyst for sales. So, they purposely choose the locations where they will receive the most attention. For more coverage, they dress their best and branded, and will even answer a few questions that are being shouted at them by TMZ, who by the way, was notified anonymously (because they don’t want to seem desperate) by one of their team members.

Here’s a secret: there are certain celeb hot spots where the paps camp out. They are not called there because they just remain there. Restaurants like Craig’s or Catch in West Hollywood, and clubs like Bootsy Bellows on Sunset Blvd, are known for their superstar appearances. If any artists on the rise really want to be seen without selling themselves out, they can make reservations at any of the above. It’s easier for everyone.

Thanks for coming to class today. I have to go make an appearance at the nail salon now, where nobody will bother or photograph me, because I’m just a blogger. I guess I could make a scene though… maybe go viral?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s