Will the real Shia Lebouf please stand up?
When I first read about what Shia LeBouf had said, I thought to myself, 'What a jerk!'. When saner sense prevailed, I realised that Shia had done what any brand would have, in his place. That is do whatever it is to connect with one's consumer audience. The irony is, the saner me still thinks he's a first class jerk for having talked the way he did. Is 'class' forever dead?
Shia's audience around the world, I bet, consists of the youth brigade. The kind who think Obama's god's gift to mankind. All emotion, not much of reason. (Ok, that's a tad unfair, I admit, young Conservatives may be part of that fan base.) Anyway when one's young, one tends to either be rebellious, or compliant and yet secretly desire rebellion. This is turn ensures that one's affinity towards brands that live that rebellion is pretty strong.
Shia's talk is one that builds an image of rebellion. An image that sees him being perceived as one who doesn't care too much for rules, has lived a life on the edge, has had brushes with the law and so on. Of course, for all you know, it may be true. But then again, his articulating what should be seen as irresponsible, in fact has the exact opposite effect with the youth brigade. Its instant connection, identification or maybe even deification.
Shia's done what marketers do or must do. That is, communicate an image that hits home. In other words, ensure purchases. No wonder Shia's asking rate's rumored to be a hefty $17 million. And note, that's when he is all of 23 years old.