A Lesson in Branding from Paris Hilton

Dina Giolitto

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I have never been a fan of Paris Hilton.

I see her parading around in her odd-looking clothing choices, leading her loyal following of giddy anorexic schoolgirls around by their noses, and I think, “Skank. "

I saw Paris condescend to the working class farmers of America, and I didn't like it at all. So I decided not to watch her show.

But I will say one thing about Paris. She's got branding down to a science.

First she gets folks talking with that sex tape of hers. Nice hook, Paris.

Then she buddies up with Nicole Richie for the spoiled rich girl's crash course in Reality 101.

Then she starts saying this one phrase, all the time, “That's hot. " She says it any time she can't think of anything else to say, which is often, but she does it with that uppity girl sneer that makes the fellas drool and makes other girls want to imitate it.

Then she gets some show on MTV where she gets to sit on a judging panel and rate young, good looking people's outfit choices. “That's hot, " she says, smiling in her dingy way. “That's hot. "

Then she stars in a “controversial" TV commercial for the Carl's Jr. hamburger chain, where she's rather scantily dressed (or shall I say not dressed), lathering up a Bentley and putting on some serious burlesque show moves and draping herself all over the suds-drenched car. They're playing that song, “I love Paris in the springtime. . . (etc. )" At the end, she takes a ravenous bite of a big sloppy burger and then comes the slogan, you know what it is, say it with me: “THAT'S HOT. "

I heard rumors that the commercial was banned by the FCC, but I don't keep up with such things so I'm not sure if it's correct information. Even if it was, it doesn't matter because the video is all over the internet anyway. That's some HUGE brand exposure for all parties involved: Paris, for the performance and the song that features her name, and for Carl's Jr. (who by the way I never knew existed, but you can bet I won't forget them now - and neither will the rest of the country. )

So, I don't know if Paris is actually a lot smarter than I ever gave her credit for, or she just acts on the advice of media giants and publicity agents. But whatever she's doing, it's working. Whoever is behind all of this controversy is a branding genius. And That's Hot.

Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.

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