Today, Kim Kardashian has a new baby shower invitation. You may have read about it on TMZ.com. Apparently, the music box invitation is, according to TMZ, complete with spinning ballerina that “bears a striking resemblance to Kim herself.” All of this under the beaming advert of none other than Louis Vuitton.
So, it’s come to this. We are now so celebrity-obsessed that when someone orders a baby shower invitation, celebrity gossip websites and advertisers think it is important.
This brings me on to Heather Graham. HollywoodTuna.com tells us that she is having a Busty European Hangover, alongside an advert for Acura. I dare say that you would expect HT to say something even more rambunctious about Zach Galifianakis alongside some other brand.
We’ve reached a point, it seems, where you probably couldn’t hope to sell anything unless it’s connected in some way to some piece of some celebrity. Seriously. You could invent a machine that can convert water into wine, but unless you have Robert Downey Jr. to say it works, it might very well just sit in the garage covered in spider webs.
I was thinking about all of this while watching last night’s New York Rangers hockey game against the Boston Bruins. The game was exciting enough with incredible saves by both goaltenders. And then out of the blue the cameras picked out of the crowd John McEnroe and Liam Neeson and I thought; wow…hold on a second, now this game is really exciting, then we cut to a TV spot.
Why is this happening? Celebrity drives viewership. No doubt. They are eyeball magnets. Celebrity content pulls tons of views. And nothing, it seems, attracts more eyeballs than celebrity gossip websites.
Ok ok, Hollywood celebrity has been a staple of the advertising toolbox for eons. During the last century, celebrity endorsements helped build brands like Jim Beam and Coke, to Tootsie Roll to Jockey underwear. Back then of course, positive celebrity stories attracted the brand managers and companies with advertising dollars. Remember the episode of Mad Men where a celebrity endorser crossed the line with Bill and Salie Utz, the owners of the Utz potato chip company. He was asked off the business.
But times have changed. Celebrity behavior is the medium. Frivolous stories and, moreover, salacious stories generate a load of interest and attention on the gossip websites and blogs. Especially among hard to pin down millennials.
There’s gold in them hills as salacious Hollywood content is served up on sites like TMZ, all of which has become big business.
Keith O’Brien head of social media activation at Horizon Media said: “I think TMZ and gossip sites are popular of course because of the culture we live in – where celebrities’ lives are spectator sports and where pieces of content – rumors, snippets of video, Instagram photos, insensitive Tweets – can easily power the stream. Amanda Bynes’ arrest late last night already has four separate stories on TMZ within 12-14 hours with more undoubtedly to come.”
And this content attracts the advertisers. Including the premium advertisers such as Smirnoff, LVMH and Amex. For example on Defamer.com – Part of the Gawker blogging network, a story of Paris Hilton is wrapped in an ad for the American Express Gold Card. In today’s Celebitchy.com we see ads by T-Mobile and Comcast. And in TMZ.com, the site that seems to break more stories than most, you’ll find ads for Southwest Airlines. And GossipGirl.com features ads by Banana Republic.
“Advertisers like that these sites are highly visited by all types of people so it’s possible to reach a wide audience, even if some are just coming for the schadenfreude and may not return until the next scandal. Everyone loves a celebrity’s fall from grace,” says Keith. “It doesn’t hurt that these sites get to write very specific headlines that easily catch the eye.”
What once was the backyard of a few select media like Vanity Fair and People Magazine, is now an ever-growing media universe where content – and not always positive stories – expand exponentially by the week. And with it, national brands are aligning with this ever-growing movement with insatiable desire for more.
Here are some examples of the top Hollywood Gossip sites, thanks to and as composed by Sean Aune at Mashable. Please note the list below and the content about each site comes from the dynamic all things digital Mashable online mgazine.
” BauerGriffinOnline.com – A site for photos directly from one of the paparazzi agencies. Due to the volume of photos they shoot, many go unused by other publications, so why not set up a site of their own for all the latest celeb sightings?
Celebitchy.com – Though their name implies they will tend to be quite bitchy, they aren’t quite as bad as some of the other sites out there. Don’t get us wrong, there is a healthy dose of snark mixed in.
Celebrity-Babies.com – When it comes to celebrities, it’s never too early to start talking about them. If your parents are famous, then you too qualify for a whole blog dedicated to your comings and goings.
Celebslam.com – Celebslam brings you all the usual rumors and gossip, but they are very upfront about the fact that they will insult you and make jokes about people potentially. .. doing things… to images of you.
Defamer.com – Part of the Gawker blogging network, Defamer mixes traditional celeb gossip with Hollywood insider type chatter of what is going on behind-the-scenes of movies with a healthy dose of on-set spy shoots of movies in the work.
Dlisted.com – Dlisted takes a decidedly tongue-in-cheek attitude towards the news of the celebs they discuss. The site practically drips with a theme of “get over yourselves.”
Egotastic.com – Covers general celebrity gossip, but they have a distinct fondness for female celebrities having “nipple slips” and problems getting in and out of cars properly.
GossipGirls.com – Besides all of the normal gossip, Gossip Girls bring you movie reviews, countdowns to events, forums and more.
HelloMagazine.com – A mainstay in the UK for years, also has branches in Canada, Spain, Greece, Mexico and Russia.
HollywoodRag.com – A mixture of movie production gossip as well as standard celebrity fare.
HollywoodTuna.com – HollywoodTuna has one concern, and one concern only: bringing you as skimpily clad pictures as possible of female celebrities.
IDontLikeYouInThatWay.com – While they cover the same gossip as all the other sites, they do it with a decidedly acid tongue that leaves no question as to how they feel about each personality they cover.
INFDaily.com – Another “photo agency” (read: group of paparazzi) with more photos than they could ever sell. It makes perfect sense to find some way to monetize them, and blogging is the perfect fit.
JustJared.com – JustJared tends to mix your traditional paparazzi snaps of celebrities out on the streets with a lot of exclusive photos from the sets of various movies that are still in production.
OKMagazine.com – OK! may be the newest of the celebrity magazines in the United States, but it has been all over the world for quite some time now.
OMG.Yahoo.com – A mixture of your standard candid shots and gossip, along with video interviews from sources such as Access Hollywood.
PacificCoastNewsOnline.com – A paparazzi group with offices in the UK and Los Angeles that shares their unsold photos on this website, along with the corresponding news.
People.com – People tries to keep some semblance of not just being mainly about gossip and the lives of celebs with the occasional heart warming story, but they sure do love their gossip.
PerezHilton.com – There is no way you could make a list of gossip sites without including the king of them all, Perez Hilton. Hated by some, loved by others, there is no denying that Hilton is on top of all the latest happenings.
PinkIsTheNewBlog.com – As their tag line says, “everybody’s business is my business,” Pink Is The New Blog covers celeb news from every angle with a healthy dose of cattiness.
PopGrind.com – Aggregates celebrity news from a small pool of sources, but gives you the full stories.
PopSugar.com – Part of the endlessly growing Sugar network, Popsugar tends to focus on pictures of celebrities out doing their every day things and then tying those pictures in to various other news on them.
StarMagazine.com – Formerly a supermarket tabloid, Star upgraded to a glossy magazine a while back and, of course, has a corresponding website for up-to-the-minute gossip.
TMZ.com – Owned by AOL, TMZ made a name form themselves quickly with aggressive reporting, and seemingly being everywhere at once. It was a tad surprising they got their own TV show, but a sensible re-use of their content.
TheSuperficial.com – As the name would imply, the site is about the most superficial actions, fashions and looks of the celebrity set.
USMagazine.com – The online counterpart to the long running grocery checkout mainstay,US Magazine.
WeSmirch.com – From the same people who bring us TechMeme, WeSmirch brings all of the latest gossip in to one handy aggregator.
WWTDD.com – What Would Tyler Durden Do? Well, somehow I doubt that the Fight Clubcharacter would run a blog about celebrity gossip, but I could always be wrong.
X17Online.com – X17 is big on exclusive photos and videos of the usual paparazzi targets out doing this and that, but they do aim for exclusivity more than most of the other sites.”
Yeeeah.com – Billed as being “for snarky people”, it has a definite snide flavoring to all of their posts. So if you like your gossip with a side-order of condescending, this may be the site for you.