Is all publicity good publicity? – What does Louis Walsh’s appearance on Celebrity Big Brother tell us about PR?


Celebrity Big Brother is everywhere at the minute – you don’t need to be watching it to know what is happening, writes Jenny Moody.

Whether you want to admit it or not – you can find yourself being drawn to the headlines over something one of the so-called celebrities has said. It is former X Factor judge and Irish music manager Louis Walsh who seems to be dominating them at the minute.

He has branded Jedward (how could anyone forget the musical twins John and Edward?) as ‘vile’. It is not great publicity for him when he was once their mentor.

In an even more random turn of events, they were having a roast dinner with Gemma Collins, of The Only Way Is Essex fame, while they were watching the programme, and she posted their reaction. So much drama in one day.

The Boyzone frontman Ronan Keating then put in his two penn’orth. Walsh was once the band’s manager and they have previously had very public spats but this only brought it back under the spotlight.

Now Louis Walsh is 71 years old and I’m pretty sure he does not care how he comes across on TV. If he does, then he is going the wrong way about it.

He is also the one who everyone is talking about; the others are not really getting much of a mention at all. So does the argument that all publicity is good publicity stand up here?

At this point it is not exactly going to wreck his career and he is making great TV for fans. A reality show with no conflict does not have the same impact and he is the name on everyone’s lips. However, it could change the way people see him as a person.

Those who liked him are maybe now thinking he is not the person they thought he was. I’m not overly convinced he would care that much though to be honest, but this is something that should be kept in mind.

The same could not be said for others. Remember Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallet? It has been five years since she wrongly accused Coronation Street star Ryan Thomas of punching her in the ribs while she was in the Big Brother house.

It is fair to say her career never recovered and recent reports suggest she is now living a quiet life. To accuse someone of violence when they are innocent is harder to forgive than bad mouthing people. The damage it could have done to his career as well if he couldn’t prove his innocence is also harder to walk away from.

Big Brother was also behind the infamous racism row in 2007 when Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd and Jo O’Meara were accused of bullying Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty. Racism, sexism, violence and other crimes are quite rightly always harder to come back from.

So is reality TV ever a good idea for celebrities? Well yes – there is no denying it makes great TV and has revived some people’s careers (think Peter Andre in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here).

The good guys really do make people like them even more and as long as they are seen to be genuine, we all find ourselves rooting for them.

There are others like former politician Nigel Farage going into the jungle – now, this seemed like a terrible idea at the time. In fairness, for most people their opinion could not be lower of him anyway so he couldn’t damage his reputation anymore.

Although he will never be many people’s favourite person, for many, he changed their opinion of him. They may never be his biggest cheerleader but they found he was maybe not as bad as they thought he was.

From a PR point of view, reality TV is not a bad thing all the time as long as the celebrities think how they come across before going in. I appreciate it can be hard to remember the cameras are there but maybe the age-old saying ‘if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ should come into play here.

It can be great if you come across as the good guy, who is genuine, and this can make people fall in love with you once again. They will get behind you and this alone can do wonders for your career.

Being the bad guy is also not always bad – Simon Cowell has made a very good career out of it after all – but there is always the risk of going too far.

You might not be getting an invitation for Celebrity Big Brother any time soon but this is worth remembering when putting yourself forward for anything that is out of your comfort zone – it is worth chatting to a PR expert beforehand to keep in mind the pitfalls.

And for all those celebrities playing with the idea of going on a reality TV show – remember the cameras are watching!

This blog was written and shared by Jenny Moody. Do you want to find out more about how a blog can help your business? Find out how we can help by getting in touch.

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