Gwyneth Paltrow and the GOOPy celebrity branding caper


You might be surprised to learn that G.O.O.P. are Gwyneth Paltrow's initials. Perhaps it was a rare available four-letter domain; but the disconnect between the decidedly childish, messy connotations of the word and the muted-greys of the tagline ("nourish the inner aspect") are only the first and most glaring clues that someone has made a grave branding mis-step. Stepping further into the quirky, earnest lifestyle advice web site; offering recipes for fennel and blood orange salad, for instance, and recommendations for hotels and restaurants to visit in Paris; peels off the layers of the question: what is she doing?

A brand's underlying desirability can often survive even the most disastrous errors in brand management. If one were (for instance) to change the label on one's orange juice carton, consumers will still buy the juice even as they clamber for their old design back. A stupid ad can be tuned out. But for a celebrity? The branding and the "product" are one and the same. Brand is all they have. As branding news site remarks, the aspirational qualities of a celebrity's brand are "What is a celebrity but a projected image?"

Indeed, what is a celebrity brand, if not that projected image, and if so, what is Gwyneth seeking to achieve?