Everyone knows about a famous person. That is, in effect, what makes them famous. But in the 24/7 wired-in-news world we all live in, information consumers can’t seem to get enough of celebrity news. The press has always covered the comings and goings and lifestyles of the glitterati, and society has always eaten it up. Whether talking about their fabulous homes, their glamorous lifestyles, or their secrets and tragedies, people want to know what’s up and feel connected to those in the public eye.
From fashion to politics, from actors and music stars to heroes and villains, everyday citizens demand to know what the skinny is. Before the Internet, tabloid magazines were the place to go to get the news about who’s dating whom, pictures of someone on their yacht, or scandalous details. While the rich and famous always talk about how much they hate getting hounded by the paparazzi, and never getting a moment’s peace, the only people who complain more are the ones whom the press doesn’t cover at all, because no one cares. There is a deep American obsession with famous people, and, from a public relations standpoint, here are three reasons why:
We Want to Be Them
A cornerstone of the American dream is that anyone can achieve it. Fame and fortune are sitting there, ripe for the picking, and all anyone in this country has to do is reach out and grab it. That’s the common thinking, anyway. Most Americans plod along in their daily lives, working their jobs, and living, but dreaming of something bigger, something grander. Riches, fame, worldwide renowned…but when we don’t have that, we can live vicariously through those who do and get a taste of the good life, or at least what appears from the outside to be the good life.
Americans Love Personal Stories
Americans, as a culture, have always loved personal stories of struggle, failure, triumph, and success. From Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, to wild west cowboys, to underdog stories, Americans are fascinated with the little guy coming out triumphant, or falling from grace. Famous people, whether actors, musicians, CEOs, or serial killers fascinate the public with their life stories.
Famous People Are Marketed to be Interesting
In the world of public relations, the best result always comes from attaching the product to the consumer. When someone is well known, regardless of the reason, they are continually marketed to the public in a way so that the public always craves more of them. Since the individual is what is being sold, that means all parts of the individual are part of the product, from why they’re famous to their foibles and daily actions. This need drives popular culture, and drives American’s desires for more, more, more.