As the rest of America wonders whether the king of pop is really dating Brooke Shields, advertisers don't seem to give a darn about his personal life.
'He doesn't really fit the rules as far as being an endorseable celebrity,' said Jerri Shaftel, vp, Celebrity Endorsement Network, Woodland Hills, Calif. 'For any other celebrity who wants an endorsement, a man's got to be a man, and a woman, a woman. Any questions about sexuality plummets their value.'
It's hard to explain his popularity when you consider the public's mixed reactions to Jackson. Last year, he ranked 90th in a consumer look at the 'perceived quality' of 101 celebrities by Princeton, N.J.-based Total Research.
Jackson balked in answering Oprah on her ABC interview show last week about whether he's a virgin. Even so, the show garnered a 39.3 rating and a 56 share - phenomenal numbers. It was seen by an average of 36.5 million households, ranking fourth among all entertainment programs rated by Nielsen since 1960.
Overseas, Jackson is as hot as he was 10 years ago here. 'He's the No. 1 entertainer in the world,' said Joe Pytka, who directs Jackson's ads for Pepsi and has directed three of his music videos. 'I don't know what happened in the U.S.,' Pytka said. 'We chew people up here.'
But advertisers still clamor to work with the star, Pytka said. That may relate to how much publicity Jackson's L.A. Gear and Pepsi endorsement deals got.
As Jackson looks to build interest in his charitable foundation, Heal The World, it's probably no coincidence that Chabre landed the job after running his own sports marketing firm, specializing in corporate sponsorships. Chabre said only that his appointment fits into an effort 'to take Jackson's career to the next level.'
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)