Lady Gaga wore a meat dress to the MTV Video Music Awards and it’s hardly news. Had it been Celine Dion or Taylor Swift or Justin Timberlake, it would have captured more headlines and shock and awe, but the fact that Gaga decided to wear a cow – including a a beef slab crown/hat — was just another publicity stunt. And it worked for Gaga, because despite her knack for ridiculous outfits, this one was highly unusual and quite in line with her messaging/reputation. PETA didn’t like it (nor should they have) and the results of many online polls pointed to a rather disgusted response to seeing flank steak strewn across the torso (even during Fashion Week). Yet people are fascinated by Gaga and that’s the point. That’s her point. My only beef (sorry!) with her ploy was Lady Gaga’s explanation for the outfit and her taking a stand for gay rights. She told Ellen Degeneres: “If we don’t stand up for what we believe in..pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones…And I am not a piece of meat.” Not a very good quote or well thought-out message. This is where Gaga often falls short – she pushes the envelope with her image and songs, and now it’s time for her to straighten out her messaging – because people are listening. On the other side of the fashion spectrum but perhaps sharing some of the audience demographics is Oprah, who startled her studio audience yesterday by announcing that 300 of them are invited to join her in Australia in December for an all-expenses paid trip as part of her goodbye tour. Another publicity stunt? Surely. Oprah isn’t really leaving TV – she’s just switching channels. But the Down Under move was perfectly aligned with what Oprah stands for. She gives back, she surprises, she influences sales and sentiments. I don’t watch Oprah’s show but I feel like I know her. I download Lady Gaga songs but can’t relate to her. The publicity machine is working.
What outrageous publicity stunts do you feel resonated or fell flat?