On the surface, it seemed like a good idea: leverage the highfalutiness of the Hamptons brand to bolster the low brow Kardashian brand, and especially the latter’s TV reality show coming to E! this fall. Yet, unlike the MTV’s Beach House or Jersey Shore, these two brands are as about incongruous as they get.
It’s more akin to how HBO leveraged “Silicon Valley” for its geek-driven reality series, but with less emphasisÂ on reality since the actors and make-believe settings in the HBO series are just that.
Here’s what Joe Schwenk’s (aka @hamptonsborn) said about the impending arrival of the Kardashians:
Four days before the savages descend upon utopia.
â€” Joe Schwenk (@HamptonsBorn) May 18, 2014
I wonder whether the decision to lease a residence and storefront in tony Southhampton will actually hurt the Kardashian brand. I mean, local residents are saying some pretty heinousÂ things about these fauxÂ society siblings. Â PR Newser’s Tonya Garcia chose toÂ pick up on the other side of the reputational coin in a piece titled:
“The Hamptons Are Afraid the Kardashians Will Ruin Their Brand”
In it, she cited a Daily News storyÂ in which “society publicist” R. Couri Hay said:
“…the old money are in horror about the arrival of the Kardashians. The locals are always happy that the summer business is coming in, but also terrified of losing that level of perfection that people who go to the Hamptons want.”
Gee, I remember when Couri Hay stringed for the National Inquirer. Be that as it may, the counter-intuitive choice of Southampton versus let’s say the more free-wheeling (i.e., trashy) Hampton Bays or Montauk seems to be PR-forming admirably, at least from a TV programming publicist’s perspective.
)By the way, gotta love Schwenk’sÂ description of Montauk):
“This July Montauk will inherit the mantle of being the Daytona Beach of the Hamptons,â€ albeit with â€œslightly less on-street vomiting.”
The Kardashian duo haveÂ already generated a heap of media attention. TMZ screamed:
“KOURTNEY & KHLOE REJECTED BY THE HAMPTONS ‘They’ll Attract Trash’
“The Hamptons are getting overrun with daytrippers and a chain-store vibe. The posh area will suffer the indignity of ‘Kourtney & Khloe Take the Hamptons’; residents fear the influx is turning the place into the Jersey Shore.”
From the Daily Mail Online:
“Dash-ing all the way to the bank! Kourtney and KhloÃ© Kardashian ‘will NOT pay rent on pop-up Hamptons boutique’ featured in new spin-off show”
“Production Problems: Residents in the Hamptons Reject Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian for New Spin-Off Show (Report)”
“Kardashians accused of â€˜getting off on wrong footâ€™ in snooty HamptonsÂ Reality television stars Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian begin filming in New Yorkâ€™s upmarket Southampton next week”
In the world of celebrity PR and media fragmentation, the axiom of “I don’t care what they say as long as they spell my name right”Â is more trueÂ than ever. Â Who can forget Miley Cyrus’s obscene performance at last year’s VMAs — a performance manufacturedÂ by her handlers to set tongues a waggin’, and singlehandedly revitalize her career.Â Then there wasÂ Pat Sajak’s recent stupidÂ tweets that thrust him back in the news…and renewed relevance.
I predict that the Kardashians’ pop-up ploy will generateÂ a plethoraÂ of ugly commentary that will invariably accrue positively to the fortunes of the TV series and these siblings’ “careers.” Â Sadly, the operative today is plethora, not ugly.
Full disclosure: the writer owns a home in Water Mill.