2010 may go down as the Year of the Celebrity Stunt — with stars as disparate as Lady Gaga and Spencer Pratt trying to go all P.T. Barnum on us.
“In old Hollywood, there was a much deeper separation between the screen and private life. Now, social media and an almost 24-hour reality TV cycle constantly blur the line between celebrity identity and the actual individual,” said Neil Alumkal, Founder of Stuntman Public Relations. “Everything these stars do is for material, or a good Tweet. So anything that creates a stir, however negative, has a measurable impact on their personal brand.” While some stunts were wildly successful and amusing, others have been epic fails.
Here are our Top 5 Celebrity Publicity Stunts for 2010:
1. Gaga Meat Dress
She’s had some doozies in terms of outfits, one glue-gun-heavy red carpet appearance seeming to top the next, but when Gaga decided to wear raw meat for the Vogue Hommes Japan cover shoot and, later, the MTV VMAs, all bets were off. Love it or hate it, just when you thought the outrageous pop queen couldn’t get more crazy-train, she took it to a whole new level. And thousands of women instantly had Halloween costumes.
2. Speidi Split
Is anyone even keeping track at this point? Spencer and Heidi, fresh off of a run of transparent hoaxes, announced they were divorcing. Turned out to be a PR stunt for a show featuring Montag and “Bunney” (one of the stars from The Hills who dated Brody Jenner). Most journalists dismissed the news, and now with Teen Mom Amber Portwood stealing the MTV train-wreck spotlight with some permanence, hopefully Speidi’s 15 minutes is just about over and out.
3. PETA to Pay for LiLo Rehab
Just when things couldn’t seem to get worse for Lindsay Lohan things, well…continued to get way worse. And so, in the grand tradition of making celebrities multimillion-dollar offers they can only refuse, PETA offered to foot the bill for Lohan’s rehab if she went vegan. And, funny enough, it at least appeared to be a real offer that her lawyers actually considered. Luckily, the formerly McRib-loving Bill Clinton played ball with organization, becoming their man of the year. Banner year for PETA and publicity stunts!
4. Tiger Woods’s Newsweek Essay
Tiger Woods, ghostwriter in his ear, published the now-infamous “How I Redefined Victory” essay in Newsweek. Something about how making mac and cheese is better than eating out… Yeah. It backfired. Big time. Chalk this one up to a desperate, insincere, last-ditch PR fail. Game over.
5. Joaquin Phoenix’s Grand Hoax