Sunday, 20 January 2008

THE OVERWHELMING SOCIAL POWER OF CELEBRITY

It takes a celebrity to turn something usually considered taboo - such as alcoholism and a criminal indictment - into a fashion statement. Lindsay Lohan and a coterie of other celebs have been wearing these alcohol monitors as punishments for drink driving. And what should have been a deterrence has turned into fashion statements about rebellion, cool, and hedonism.

Now Chanel has launched a "pint sized purse" (seen above), according to Harpers Bazaar, based on these alcohol monitors, thus turning something foolish, into something tragic.

Celebrity power is usually applied at the beginning of a trend in the diffusion of innovation. So from indicted celebrities, follows Chanel selling to rich fashionistas, then other lower end brands will take up the idea for the mainstream audiences. Celebrities are permission-givers, and a type of social glue that make the unpalatable palatable, the unsellable sellable, and they are frequently the invisible connection between diverse social networks.

The cheek and iconoclastic gusto of the idea (plus clever PR) will guarantee it mainstream media controversy with the juxtaposition of fame and crime, and such is the way that things move from not-so-hot to very hot.