The world’s news media is still full of Rihanna and Barbados stories in the aftermath of the announcement that Barbados entered into a three year promotional deal with the Bajan-born singer. Rihanna will exclusively promote Barbados as a wonderful tourism destination and is kicking it all off with a concert in Barbados on August 5, 2011.
Presumably Barbados is paying the star, but it is unclear if big money is trading hands or if Rihanna is mostly lending a hand to her home country in difficult times. Perhaps Barbados is paying only a nominal amount and the contract is only a necessary formality to allow Rihanna to retain control of her brand. Whatever the arrangement, Rihanna will be doing commercials and promoting Barbados using the power of her fame and her image.
“Presumably the Barbados tourism adverts will not show Rihanna’s genitalia hanging out as she squats on stage or slides out of a limo in true commando fashion – but maybe that’s part of the plan. Who knows?”
The fallacy of “There’s no bad publicity”
Fame is one thing, image is another though – and it is Rihanna’s image that might be the two-edged sword in this arrangement. Some have said that there is no bad publicity, but I have a feeling that Congressman Anthony Wiener might disagree with that statement. As the Huffington Post puts it, Wiener’s support has “gone limp.”
Suppose Congressman Wiener had been a Barbados Tourism Ambassador?
Mr. Wiener isn’t a Barbados Tourism Ambassador, but suppose he was? There would be a moment of awkward embarrassment, and then he would be tossed aside like the brands dumped Tiger Woods when the world and his wife discovered that he wasn’t the wholesome family guy he’d pretended to be. That’s why endorsement contracts usually have a few clauses that allow for the termination of the contract if the celebrity’s image gets into trouble.
Beggars can’t be choosers
Beggars can’t be choosers though, and I’d wager that whatever contract Barbados signed with Rihanna doesn’t mention anything about termination if the star’s image takes a tumble due to behaviour.
It can be argued that Barbados already knows that Rihanna’s personal life and stage performances haven’t exactly been great examples for our young people and that her occasionally shocking behaviour is part of a cultivated performance image – but her name is famous and we should take advantage of this opportunity to promote our seriously ill tourism industry and failing economy. “Any port in a storm and any life preserver that floats” shouldn’t be ignored in the current economic tempest, and that’s probably not an inaccurate representation of what is happening here. Continue reading