The celebrity world can be very fickle – one minute you’re riding high and the next minute your yesterday’s news. With the constant glare of the world’s media watching your every move, paparazzi following your every step and the constant pressure and high expectations on every new project it is no wonder that many celebrities crack under the stress. Over the years many celebrities have gone through a down-hill spiral that has caused them to lose their reputation, money, jobs, and endorsements.
However this is not always the end to their career – with clever publicists, reputation management and PR campaigns you can engineer an unforgettable comeback.
As homage to this I have compiled the top five celebrity comebacks to show how this can be done.
1. Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. had a very successful start to his career. He featured in the film Proud at just 5 years old and from then went on to star in the film Weird Science and Natural Born Killers as well as earning an Academy Award nomination for his role in Chaplin.
Sadly all was not well in paradise and Robert started a downward spiral with substance abuse, alcohol, arrests and rehab stints. Downey was arrested a string of times from 1996 to 2001 and soon became a semi-blacklisted liability. He took work where he could find it, but even after landing a converted role in hit show Ally McBeal he couldn’t keep clean and was soon fired due to drug arrests.
Now a few years down the line the Academy-award nominated actor has finally managed to kick his drug habit. And due to the hard work and belief of his agent and publicist Robert has been welcomed back warmly by Hollywood and movie fans alike. Enjoying one of the biggest comebacks of any Hollywood actor Robert has since proven his talent and his worth with appearances in the critically acclaimed “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” and in the high-grossing blockbuster movies of the “Sherlock Holmes,” “Iron Man” and “Avengers” franchises.
2. Britney Spears
It made headlines worldwide when America’s sweetheart Britney Spears fell from grace with a very public meltdown. The world watched as she shaved her head, attacked the paparazzi with an umbrella and hung out with party girls, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, where she was famously pictured panty-less in a short dress coming back from a club. This was followed by the heavy custody battle of her two sons, run-ins with the law, time in rehab and her assets coming under conservatorship.
Towards the end of this turbulent time Britney started work on her fifth studio album, Blackout, with the help of renowned producers Danja, The Neptunes and Sean Garrett. This became the most positively received release of her career. Her Public Relations team made the conscious and clever decision not to do any marketing and press for the album to keep Britney out of the spotlight. The album appeared on many end-of-the-year and decade lists, including reader polls by Billboard and Rolling Stone and The Times named it as the fifth best pop album of the decade.
This was the turning point for Britney, she used her talent to silence the media and gained back her image and success. Blackout was followed by two more hit albums and Britney is now a regular judge on The X Factor in addition to securing a residency in Vegas.
3. Martha Stewart
Domestic goddess Martha Stewart built an empire with her matriarchal skills. She had her own catering business, cookbooks, appeared in dozens of magazine columns, and had many TV stints. In 2003, things took an ugly turn when she was charged for fraud and obstruction of justice. This resulted in her having to serve a five-month prison sentence and a two-year supervised parole. Surprisingly, when she came out of jail the majority of the public were sympathetic to her case which was helped hugely by her sense of humour about the incident.
This resulted in her quickly returning to daytime TV with The Martha Stewart Show, to quickly rebuild her fan base and she now reaps the rewards of new best-selling cookbooks, a line of cookware and house ware that is beyond successful.
4. David Beckham
He is the poster boy for English football, a nation favourite for his family man image and arguably the most famous person in Britain. But in 2004, David Beckham’s lucrative endorsement deals, marriage and reputation were on the line when his PA Rebecca Loos reported to the papers that they were having an affair.
Even though Rebecca had text messages to prove her claims, David’s camp neither denied nor confirmed the allegations and his wife, Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham stood by her man. Interestingly, as a result, the public quickly turned on Rebecca Loos rather than David which was inadvertently helped by her constant courting of the media and the extreme overexposure which followed.
The public quickly forgot the claims and to this day David is still one of the most respected sportsmen of this generation who has since enjoyed an extremely successful career internationally, A-list status and some of the most lucrative endorsement deals in the world.
5. Kate Moss
In 2005 supermodel Kate Moss was captured taking cocaine in a recording studio by the Daily Mirror who published the pictures on the front page of the paper under the headline “Cocaine Kate”. At the time she was dating notorious rock singer Pete Doherty, who has made no secret of his own drug use and addiction to heroin.
As a result of the damaging pictures Kate was dropped by high-street retailer H&M and her contracts with Chanel and Burberry were terminated. Many predicted that this would be the end of her very lucrative career as a supermodel.
However due to the quick and savvy thinking of her agent, Sarah Doukas, Kate’s reputation was salvaged. Miss Doukas explained that she spent a lot of time on the phone trying to reassure her big clients that you can’t believe everything you read and, unfortunately, all press actually is good press in this world we live in. So keep calm, don’t have a knee-jerk reaction. She then advised Kate to make a public apology, both to her business partners and her fan base followed by a stint in a rehab centre in phoenix where she tackled her drug problem.
It seems this strategy paid off – Kate moss’s earnings had doubled from £2million to £4million just a year after the cocaine scandal and she is still, 7 years on, one of the most sought after and highest paid models in the world.
Author Bio: Lauren Clements is a Talent Executive on the Talent and Media Management team at PHA Media, an award-winning PR and digital agency in London. She ensures her clients are both promoted and protected from the media and specialises in profile raising and reputation management.
Top Photo/Poster design by BLT Communications, LLC via www.impawards.com