Keeping a Brand Alive


A few months ago her song “Friday” was unescapable, being hailed as the worst song of all-time. Rebecca Black’s debut racked up 133 million views on YouTube and became a pop culture moment-in-time.

But everybody knew then, likely including Miss Black herself, that this was a star that would burn out quickly. Keeping her flickering fame alive was not going to be easy. However, you need to give her full credit for trying.

This week many of us were talking about Rebecca Black once again, for two reasons. And there is no coincidence that they happened nearly simultaneously.

First, Rebecca appeared in a cameo role in the new Katy Perry video for the song “Last Friday Night”.

Lesson #1 for business: Partner with bigger brands to give your brand more profile. You may have to mock yourself in order to do so. When you do it, make sure you tell the world about it.

Second, the video for Rebecca’s disasterous hit “Friday” was taken off of YouTube because of a copyright dispute between Black and Ark Music, the company who received $4,000 from Black’s parents to create the song.

Lesson #2 for business: In order to give your brand more value, make it more scarce. We covet what we cannot have. When you make yourself more scarce, make sure you tell the world about it.

 Lesson #3 for business: Use controversy in your favor. A public dispute can bring attention to your brand and even sympathy to your cause.

Rebecca Black’s handlers have been wise in making both of these moves, but it is still a long-shot that they’ll be able to stretch Black’s stardom much more than they already have.


4 Responses to “Keeping a Brand Alive”

  1. BenMx says:

    On the mocking… Wanted to point out that Black went crazy with Funny Or Die on 1 April. They dubbed it “Black Friday” and it was a smash. She happily played along.

  2. That all makes sense, and sounds like great advice…until the end.

    You say that Black’s handlers did pretty much everything right, “but it is still a long-shot that they’ll be able to stretch Black’s stardom much more than they already have.” In other words, she (and/or her people) took great steps to get her where she is, but it may all be for naught anyway?

    Is the lesson you need a brand of value that’s worth keeping alive (i.e. talent), or that sometimes even doing everything correctly can still lead you to the bin of obscurity?

    It’s easy to say “Black isn’t that talented,” or “her song is crap,” etc., but I bet a LOT more people genuinely like it than we want to believe. So it almost feels like even if you do everything right, you can still fail.

  3. Steve Jones says:

    @DigitalWheelie – I think one good lesson is that if you don’t have the product to back up the buzz, you’ll quickly end up obscure. That’s likely where Rebecca Black will end up, although thanks to some smart moves she is still a relevant topic today.

    Without a remarkable product to back her up, she’ll become a pop culture footnote as that kid who recorded that awful “Friday” song.

    I can’t vouch for her actual level of talent, but if I was advising her I would get her in the studio quickly with a bona-fide hit song and show the world that she’s more than a kid who got lucky on YouTube.

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