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Friday, July 27, 2007

Lindsay Lohan vs. Britney Spears: Whose career will survive?

Here is an interesting contrast between two celebrity brands...two female entertainers who are famously troubled, but whose brands are affected in different ways.

First, Lindsay Lohan, who recently denied having done drugs. Honestly, even if she did, I am 99% sure it doesn't affect her brand. Why? Because Lohan has always been an out of control type party girl. That is her brand promise --trouble. I don't foresee any negative impact on her career at all. That doesn't mean that her behavior is OK, but it does mean that in the marketplace, you are judged on how well you align to your brand -- even if your brand is a negative one. Her movies will still get insured--no worries--and her movie "I Know Who Killed Me" is going to be a major hit. (Predictions are that ticket sales will be even higher than projected due to interest in her personal life.)

Now, Britney Spears is another matter. Her career may as well be over. It's not because she keeps doing strange, out of control things--like letting her dog poop on a designer dress at a recent photo shoot, running off with her kids to Vegas in the middle of a custody battle, or, of course, shaving her head--but because her brand is all to do with innocence. We used to trust Britney to be an innocent teen who, although she pushed the boundaries a bit, was fundamentally a good girl. Now she has gone completely over the edge. From that, her brand cannot recover.

Strangely, the press is reporting that Britney recently called Lindsay to empathize over their mutual problems. I wonder if that call was made out of Britney's desperate hope to be a soul sister with someone whose career is on the rise despite having her image trashed in public.