Sharon's Catherine Tramell vs. Meryl's Joanna Kramer

You could say its because I am besotted by her, but I recommend you don't 'cos she has an IQ of 154. The tabloid press may have reported her remark as being a backhanded compliment, but I recommend you not be be swayed, and instead analyse it for the 'marketing logic' it carries.

This is what Sharon Stone said about Oscar winning actress, Meryl Streep, "I think that's why Meryl Streep is working so much, because she looks like a woman we can all relate to. I look at her and I think, I'm chasing my kids, I've moved my parents in with me, I'm coping with food spills - that looks like me in real life. Meryl looks like an unmade bed, and that's what I look like. To me, that looks true."

Sharon in saying what she said, has demonstrated the difference between what's termed 'Identification' and 'Aspiration'. We identify with what we are and aspire (read, desire) to be what we aren't. Meryl's who women viewers identify with, and Sharon's who they aspire (desire) to be.

Why Meryl's plenty on screen is because its the 'mass consumer effect'. Hordes of women, from middle and lower part of the class divide see her as embodying their lives. So they take to her, big time. Her movies are the kind they watch, thus, in effect giving her even more opportunities for roles on the silver screen.

Sharon's a contrast to Meryl. If not many, there surely must be women who desire to be Catherine Tramell. Maybe not literally. But at least that's the fantasy. Sharon plays such fantasy parts to perfection. With smoking hot looks and an attitude to match, Sharon's the one who can effortlessly get women to want to be in bed with a hidden icepick. The only hitch is, the Catherine Tramells can't come in mass consumer proportions. The opportunity on the sliver screen for such characters is limited, and therefore Sharon has to wait, while Meryl's continuously on song.

The marketing lesson in Sharon's comment is noteworthy. That if its identification that you can employ, it'll be mass consumer proportions that you get. If its aspirations that are being built, niche is what you can expect.

Pic: Wikipedia


Unknown said…
True that.. Now, the question that comes in.. How do we bring in a paradigm shift in thinking, if for all we know its for the good of the 'masses'? For example, we've all seen how rich the masses have made Ekta Kapoor, what with the TRPs of her women-oriented, family soaps that portray the life of a woman as the hardest struggle anyone can think of, skyrocketing out of the universe. Now, an objective mind knows, there is much, MUCH more beyond the crap that Indian masses have been buying willingly. Something much more 'Aspirational' is out there to be shot and shown on the Idiot Box. Will people relate to it? Will they laugh at how deep a well they've been living in? Will they be willing to take these aspirations for real? Will they find it acheivable to be smoking hot like Ms.Stone? And how many corporate giants have the guts and resources to 'buck the trend'??

Questions to ponder over...

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