The whole world is laughing at Charlie Sheen. But I get the feeling that he's laughing at us, too. I've been doing a little research into marketing of late, and I'm telling you, the man's a master. He fired his publicist? Of course he did. He didn't need him!
Without endorsing or condoning Charlie Sheen's drug-fueled craze of the past couple months, you have to admit that it was a masterstroke in creating a "brand" for himself. He's now known as the celebrity walking the tightrope of sanity right before our eyes, and we love it. We love celebrities that act out because we live vicariously through their terrible decisions, as they do things we never really could but secretly want to.
All the delirious TV interviews, which piqued our curiosity trying to guess what drug(s) he was on at the time, only drew us in more. Was he acting out because of his altered mental state, or just because he doesn't care any more? This too we secretly desire and wish to emulate. And let's be honest, he was funny. His babble was intriguing and ludicrous had its own strange internal logic to it. Winners win, I guess. At any rate, he has remarkably built up the riveting sense of anticipation: what is he going to do next?
So what did he do with this "Charlie Sheen" brand of crazy? Well, he just made a Twitter account. Brilliant. When I started following him two nights ago, he hadn't even tweeted a thing and he had some 200,000 followers. Professional social media consulting firms would kill (probably literally, as a promotional stunt, perhaps?) to cull that many followers for a client...but it would probably take months, maybe years. Charlie Sheen did it in less than 24 hours.
At the time of writing, @charliesheen now has 505,990 followers. At this point we almost don't care what he actually says (partly because we know it will be the same gibberish about "winning"). We just know it's going to be crazy and funny. He's a phenomenon now, not even a man or a brand. What sort of marketing firm could produce an effect anything close to this? Of course, you might ask, what is the "value" of his brand, i.e., what can he actually do with it? The best answer is, whatever he wants. Genius!