17 August, 2007

CALIFORNIA GIRLS – THE NEXT GENERATION: Moral Nightmares/Advertising Gold

Mike Love and Brian Wilson (of The Beach Boys) must be rolling in their graves (wait… are they still alive?). One has to wonder if they ever thought that, 42 years after they penned “California Girls”, a group of young ladies would come along and terrorize the iconic perception of the fun-loving, easy-going, beautiful-as-god-made-her, southern California girl. To many, the Next Gen California Girls of today – Paris, Britney, Nicole, Lindsay – are high-maintenance, egotistical, unpleasant, delusional, anorexic-framed undeserving elitists who are completely undeserving of the attention the American public is bestowing upon them. Qualifications for this honor include all of the above characteristics, plus:

Drug and/or alcohol abuse resulting in…
At least one DUI/DWI charge, resulting in…
At least one probation violation, resulting in…
Jail time and/or
Incomplete or partial rehab stints
Total disregard for the law and the lives of others
Occasional pregnancy alert
Occasional marriage
Occasional divorce
Occasional head shaving incident caught on video.

Thinking I’m exaggerating? Let’s take a look at the headlines of the last few months, shall we?
o Spears accused of making death threats to photographer
o Experts: Lohan, Spears making mockery of rehab
o Spears-Federline marriage officially over
o Nicole Richie sentenced to 90 hours in jail
o Lindsay Lohan surrenders to police
o Jubilant Paris Hilton out of jail
o Nicole Richie, 25, says she is almost four months pregnant
o Richie pleaded guilty Friday to driving under the influence of drugs

Can you imagine The Beach Boys writing ‘California Girls’ today? All meaning would be lost. I mean, yes, these California Girls know how to have a good time, like when Nicole mixed pot, whiskey and Vicoden and proceeded to get behind the wheel of her car and head the wrong way on a California Interstate (yes, that means going against traffic). Good times. And who can forget Paris’s recent stint in jail for violating her previous DUI probation? Or Lindsay’s most recent DUI arrest. Good times indeed. It’s quite apparent these young ladies forget that, like it or not, they are role models for today’s female youth. “Lead by example” are apparently three words they have never heard strung together. How about raising the bar a little, girls… or would that make it too difficult for you to reach your drink?

I know what you’re thinking… who cares, right? I mean, if these girls want to trash their own lives, so long as it doesn’t hurt others, who cares?! Well, I’ll tell you who cares… ADVERTISERS! These girls bring in eyeballs… lots of eyeballs. In print, on television, in cyberspace… lots and lots of eyeballs. Their publicists know it, the media knows it, and worse… THEY KNOW IT. The crazy part about all of this is that I honestly believe they are encouraged to keep up the antics to keep themselves in the limelight just one more day. Just one more day might be enough to land them on the cover of one more tabloid, be an entry in one more blog (ahem), or be featured in one more on-screen interview with the likes of Larry King or Diane Sawyer. And that may be all they need to get one more starring role and make another cool million to fuel their habits.

It’s concerning the way the gears in the Hollywood machine turn, but apparently there’s an appetite for these Next Gen California Girls. If you, like me, wish to diminish their prowess, here’s my request. Stop feeding the frenzy. Stop buying the tabloids. Turn the channel. Stop caring who they sleep with, whose baby they’re having, why they are going to jail, and which rehab facility they are escaping from. (And for the record, I’ll do my part. This will be my last blog entry featuring any of the aforementioned Next Gen California Girls). Moral of the story – if we move our eyeballs to more appealing content, trust me, the advertisers will follow.

--Jason Cohen, Director of Marketing

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