Monthly Archives: May 2009

If You Seek Amy, Do Not Hook Up

In today’s world of pop culture, image is everything. Celebrities fill our media outlets with tales of parties, elopements and other eye-catching drama. Image is not only the physical image that these celebrities portray, but it is the image they portray through their work, whether it is acting or music. Two very popular pop singers are Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson. These two young women have made their mark on the music industry in more ways than one. Kelly Clarkson was the first winner of the popular TV show, American Idol, while Britney Spears stole our hearts in 1998 with her single, “… Baby One More Time.”

Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson have lit up the billboard charts with their music, but one of these pop divas is known for more than just her music. Britney Spears has appeared on the air waves for an overnight wedding, shaving her head and exposing herself to paparazzi on a night out. Her two sons have also been in the spotlight as a result of her divorce from Kevin Federline and a custody battle. This pop diva has had her fair share of attention in the media, whether good or bad. Kelly Clarkson, on the other hand, manages to stay out of the limelight. She avoids any scandals and has become known for her music, not her personal life.

The songs delivered by these two women can always be found on the top of hit lists for popular songs. However, these two artists create completely different images of themselves through the songs that they sing. A prime example of this is the comparison between the two singles that each singer currently has out. Britney Spears’ most recent single is “If You Seek Amy” and Kelly Clarkson has released her song, “I Do Not Hook Up.” These two songs are on complete opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to the image that these singers are portraying through their songs.

When you say the title of Britney Spears’ single, “If You Seek Amy,” it may take a second to understand, but the actual meaning of this song is hidden in the sound behind that title. While I believe this is very creative, it is also adding to the image Spears has already created for herself. Throughout the years, Spears has established a reputation for not being the best role model for the young generation of girls who look up to her. The chorus of this song states, “love me, hate me, say what you want about me. But all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek Amy.” Although Spears did not write this song, she took a major risk by making this song her own. As you listen to the song, it obviously has nothing to do with a girl named Amy, but is actually a statement made by Britney Spears.

Kelly Clarkson takes her song in the opposite direction. “I Do Not Hook Up” makes a very strong statement. Kelly Clarkson reaffirms her image as an all-around good American girl. With the lyrics, “Oh, no I do not hook up, I fall deep, ‘Cause the more that you try, the harder I’ll fight to say goodnight,” the writers put the emphasis on love and the strength to say no, and less on the sexual undertone found in the Britney Spears single. Kelly Clarkson is sending out a very strong, honorable message to the young listeners she has.

Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson have very strong images. These images are the driving force behind their success. Both artists are extremely successful, but they have created completely different images for themselves. Britney Spears puts off a “no nonsense,” bad girl image, while Kelly Clarkson remains a strong, independent good girl. The choices made by these pop icons are specific public relations tactics that have gotten them where they are today.

– Dianna Duffy

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Dove gets a little too fresh

Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” revolutionized the perception of beauty in the media by showing real women, and not models, in its advertisements. This decision gave the brand a great deal of publicity, and Dove has a strong image, which supports “real beauty.” The “Evolution Commercial” features a woman who goes for a photo shoot and is transformed to look completely different through hair, make-up and technology. This commercial made a statement by encouraging women to have confidence in their natural beauty, helping them to realize that images shown in the media can be fake.

Dove targets a younger audience, as well, through the “Self-esteem fund,” which teamed up with the Girl Scouts of America. Dove reports that 75 percent of girls with low self-esteem engage in negative activities, such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking or drinking when feeling bad. Another statistic that I found appalling was that 34 percent of girls with low self-esteem believe they are not a good enough daughter.

When I saw that Dove’s new campaign for its “Dove go fresh” products incorporated the television show “Gossip Girl” on The CW, I was instantly confused. “Gossip Girl” is about a group of high school girls in New York City who live a somewhat unrealistic life. The characters on the show go to a prestigious private school, wear expensive clothes, engage in scandalous activities and are absolutely beautiful.

GossipGirlInsider.com admits that the show is racy, and quotes the Boston Herald in saying that the show is “a parent’s worst nightmare.” Because of the criticism that I have heard about the television show and book series, I couldn’t link Dove and its confidence-boosting campaign with Gossip Girl. The combination didn’t make sense because television shows like Gossip Girl seem to be an example of the negative influences and false portrayals of beauty that Dove wants young girls to avoid.

The “Dove go fresh” campaign features four New York City women who are the “real gossip girls.” All four are beautiful and lead an elite lifestyle in Manhattan. So far, there are only videos posted of Chrissie Miller, a woman who started her own fashion line. Although Chrissie had struggles starting her business, she went to a prestigious prep school in New York City, which gave her an instant advantage in the big city.

The three others are Laura, who is an Ivy League student from the Upper East Side; Dani, who is a magazine’s style director (a job that allows her to travel across the globe for fashion shows and parties); and Faythallegra, who names herself as the “struggling artist.” In my opinion, Faythallegra seems to be the only one who is actually dealing with any sort of challenges that a majority of young women can relate with.

From a public relations standpoint, I don’t think that Dove made a good decision to change the perception of its brand. The “Dove go fresh” campaign does not strongly incorporate the values of its “Campaign for real beauty,” which is still running. When the “Campaign for real beauty” was first launched, a great deal of publicity followed, causing the campaign to develop into something much larger and more influential. Dove had the potential to make a positive impact on our next generation, but now that future is questionable.

by Sarah Minkel

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