RuPaul Dishes on Brands and Being a Bombshell

The reality star talks marketing tactics, reveals his all-time favorite commercial

Adweek sits down with RuPaul, star of the Logo channel's drag competition show RuPaul's Drag Race and cable's queen of product placement, to get the skinny on which brands are doing it right, his all-time favorite TV commercial, and becoming a cultural icon. 

Photo: Mathu Andersen

RuPaul on brand integrations

We have a young audience and these are fashion-forward people who love our show, who understand color and brightness and having fun. So Absolut Vodka is a perfect, perfect match for our show. And then Las Vegas, the same thing. Las Vegas has been courting people who are fun-loving, and not just the old model of Las Vegas.

Some of the sponsors, we’ve actually had a lot of fun with integrating them into the

show. We had a sponsor called, which became sort of a joke and a catchphrase and a punch line at times. But it raised visibility for the product in a fun way that wasn’t subversive, that didn’t seem really weird. [It] was this company that made these latex breast forms. … We had fun with it. In fact, that is what drag’s all about. Drag doesn’t take life too seriously. We respect the product, but we bring it into our vernacular, and make it something that easily rolls off the tongue.

Check out this week’s cover story on the evolution of product placement.

RuPaul on making it in show business

Know thyself. Never try to be something you’re not, because the audience is looking for authenticity, and they’re looking for someone who understands their own energy.

RuPaul on his favorite commercial

It would probably be the Revlon Flex [shampoo] commercial with [model] Patti Hansen in a white cowboy outfit with a cowboy hat … and she was holding a hair dryer. She would jump off of a rock onto the ground and hold the hair dryer like a gun. Oh my god, I still emulate that commercial!

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