Last Monday the 58th Grammy Awards proved to be a trivial situation for singer Lauren Hill, who was a no-show for her anticipated performance with The Weeknd. Naturally, a war of words ensued.
In a recent article, Team Hill argued that they never confirmed the performance and that it was advertised prematurely, while the Grammys pointed a finger right back at Hill. Recording Academy President Neil Portnow stated, “we had a dress rehearsal onstage that she did attend.”
Who wins the war? They can make statements back and forth all day, but it will be the person who has the last say before something more interesting comes along. A story’s lifecycle is brief. Although the Grammys are trending, The Oscars are quickly approaching and soon the stories will move on to what is most recent. Lauren Hill’s story will simply be “The last I heard…” making it simply a matter of who has the last say.
If everyone will move on in a week, does it really matter? Old news, right? Not quite. Not only the Grammys, but Hill’s fans could have drawn conclusions about Hill from this event from “she didn’t show up – not dependable,” to “she was late – inconsiderate,” to “she never confirmed but showed up to dress rehearsal? Flaky.”
As celebrities, every action can contribute to the branding of who you are. Award shows in particular are a huge opportunity for celebrities to contribute to their brand. Rising celebrities may show up to the red carpet early because they are “new and excited” while the classic Brad and Angelinas of Hollywood may show up late because they’re pros and this is just another day-in-the-life. Celebrities will stop and chat with reporters on the red carpet to be “friendly” and “relatable,” promote who they’re wearing, their hairstylist, and whose party (or parties) they’ll be attending at the end of the night. They got invited to Vanity Fair’s event? They must be a big deal, right?
In the past, big names have taken the opportunity on the awards podium to advocate for a cause such as climate change, sexual abuse or gender orientation. It’s in these moments that they put their face to that cause and it becomes a part of their brand.
Brands spout from as little as the one sentence they say to the reporter. So what happens to your brand when you don’t show up at all? Not just your fan’s reactions, but what about other parties – such as the Grammys – and your future relationships with such organizations?
Well, as demonstrated, articles will be written. However, in addition to that you may also read some scandalous old news, other questionable moments to compliment the no-show, such as Lauren Hill’s mentioned tax evasion from 2012.
The best move depends on what your end goal is. There have been plenty of celebrity no-shows from Eddie Murphy and Kristen Stewart for movie premieres, to Amy Winehouse and of course we can’t forget, Lindsey Lohan. However there’s always time for redemption, you just have to have a smart PR team!