Anyone who watches TV probably knows that Rihanna is not opposed to being part of an ad campaign, but a New York Times article about celebrity endorsements shows that one could map out the course of her career through her promotional contracts even easier than through her albums. Where lots of acts who agree to be involved with advertisements claim to be choosy for ethical reasons, Rihanna’s handlers haven’t worried about offending her fans through her rapid rise to fame, so as much as making sure the ad campaigns are ones that can help introduce their act to a desired audience. (Are you a rather pragmatic R & B idol? Consider dancing for Overstock.com.) But nobody’s story is as inspirational as Rihanna’s, who went from exotic novelty to superstar in three years.
How to become a star, the Rihanna way!
1. Introduce yourself to the world by teaming with MySpace and Secret for a tour of malls. It’s all about the children.
2. Do you have something novel in your past? If you’re from Barbados, like Rihanna, try turning it into a shtick by doing ads promoting tourism for the country. It makes them look glamorous and gets you on the TV!
3. You don’t want to become a novelty artist, though, so it’d probably a good idea to generalize yourself as an R & B star as soon as possible. Nike can help!
4. You’ve made some jams, so the next step would be the broaden your fan base and get more glamorous. You’re not some kid in sneakers anymore–you’re a Cover Girl.
5. Throw in deals with Nokia, Totes (they sell umbrellas, don’t they?), JCPenney, Fuze and whoever else feels right at the correct points in your career. But remember, it’s not about the money.
“We said no to so many deals,” says Marc Jordan, one of her managers. “Either the fit wasn’t right — it was more about a check than extending Rihanna’s brand — or there was a disconnect between the brand and Rihanna.”
See, it’s all about the music. Sorry, extending your brand.