Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How will brand Beckham go down in the States?


Victoria Beckham recently touched down in LA with not just the usual 500-strong paparazzi, but a film crew - her own. They are shooting material for a mocumentary TV show about the Beckham's move to LA - finding a home, settling the kids in schools etc.

The show is also most likely a huge publicity stunt and attempt to get their name firmly established in the American TV-watching psyche, and will no doubt help with sales of whatever Victoria goes over their to hok. Skeletal jeans? Oh no, she's already done that.

The US blogosphere is already decidedly anti-Victoria Beckham, in that strange way that some people are gently mocked from time to time, and others are really laid into. Her overly thought-out outfits, pouting expression, and severely controlled media image mean she's getting a bit more of the 'really laid into' treatment. Perez Hilton is fond of referring to her as an alien robot, among other things.

But the question is this, do people honestly think that the Beckham's, specifically Victoria Beckham, is going to endear herself to the US public, when so far she has failed to do so in her own homeland? There is no doubt that people, women especially, admire her for her dress sense, but as far as being a likable celebrity goes - I don't think so. At least not anywhere near as likable as someone like Colleen McLoughlin is.

There are probably several factors to blame for this. She gives very few interviews, and those that she does give are usually just severely airbrushed photo ops in OK Magazine, with in-your-face cringe worthy headlines that scream, 'David and Victoria declare their undying love.' Usually amidst yet another rumour that David is playing away from home.

Victoria also never lets her guard down, and her persona is one of strict control and perfection. Indeed, those interviews with her that do exist continually site the words, "I don't have an eating disorder, I'm just controlled about what I eat." Judging by not just her tiny frame, but her extremely contrived wardrobe, one gets the feeling 'controlled' is the operative word with Ms Beckham. Whether intentional or not, the inference is that the rest of us women fail to look that perfect simply because we lack control. Elizabeth Hurley's statements send a similar message.

It's easy to imagine how someone like Victoria Beckham came to be. She's a Spice Girl, and then meets an attractive and talented footballer, and suddenly they become the golden couple. Having that much publicity and that many photos taken of you can make anyone a bit paranoid about their appearance, and it's easy to see how she evolved into something of a robot - wanting to get everything absolutely right, all of the time. The unfortunate side effect to this is that ironically it is our imperfections that endear us to people, and when someone is a perfect facade, well, they become just that - a facade.

I wish them and their family a great deal of luck in America. I think they'd be wise to do some interviews over there, lower their guards, develop a sense of humour about themselves, and allow interviewers to grill them a bit. Oh, and Victoria, it would help if just occasionally you smiled.

But can they let down their strictly controlled media persona long enough to do this? I'm not so sure.

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