The Goop Guide to Trolling

November 12, 2015 16:36:03 Posted at November 12, 2015 16:36:03
Maria Posted by Maria
Photos:
Jon Kopaloff /Getty Images

It’s been a Gwyneth-heavy week, month, year. There is no going underground for months at a time when there are jumpsuits to sell. This week, Gwyneth attended the Fast Company Innovation Festival (pics here) – Fast Company, a “leading progressive business media brand”, has been supportive of Goop. And it’s not PEOPLE Magazine.

At the festival, Gwyneth and her business partner Lisa Gersh announced Goop Press, an imprint with a publishing company that will yield 4 titles a year. One will come from Gwyneth and her team – for example, her next cookbook will be with Goop Press, and the other titles will be pulled from their editorial. So look for books from “medical mediums” like Anthony William, a man who claims to hear an otherworldly spirit who helps him solve medical mysteries. This is not a pilot for a CBS show, I swear – you can read more here.

Gwyneth has been known to promote all kinds of experts – Tracy Anderson has built an empire on G’s taut ass. But now she’s adding another layer of legitimacy, pulling from her sanctioned editorial to legitimize and further the Goop brand on a prestigious scale. It’s a bit of a dizzying task – a Q&A in Goop is one thing (and the Q&A’s are not edited very tightly, they tend to drag and can be a giant bore), but how will she be able to pluck entire books out of it? Especially considering that many of the experts featured on Goop, like the Medical Medium, are already published. That’s partly what makes them experts, no?

So I’m curious to see what will be culled from the editorial. She certainly has options, like City Guides (she already has the app, and Louis Vuitton does brisk business with luxe print city guides, so there’s a market). Or fashion, her collaborations are excellent – style advice from Gwyneth? You can’t argue with that. Or maybe she will come up with something completely and utterly impractical because she’s trolling us. Or so she says.

Speaking about the intense media scrutiny Goop receives, Gwyneth said that she is aware of what will cause a frenzy of headlines (like vaginal steaming) and she not only enjoys the attention (and the clicks), but she courts it. Yes, Gwyneth is a troll. But it’s OK, because she’s a positive troll. As she says, they don’t allow any negative stories in Goop, so if you are trolling from a higher place, it’s not seedy like a gossip site. (Lainey: hi Gwyneth!)

What Gwyneth fails to acknowledge is that she is may be engaging in positive click bait, but she is baiting the exact sites she claims are beneath her: gossip sites. (Lainey: hi Gwyneth!) No one can pick up a print magazine, read about Goop, and click a link directly to the website. All that glorious traffic she’s pulling in comes from the lesser trolls. So Gwyneth, ostensibly, is getting in bed with us. (Lainey: hi Gwyneth!) And it’s not a marketing model she’s looking to alter – she gleefully talked about the upcoming gift guide that includes gold dumbbells and a trip to space.

Again, Gwyneth demonstrates that she is in on the joke, one step ahead, impervious to the snark. She knows what people say about her and not only does it not bother her, it helps her. It’s fun, and in terms of clicks, fruitful, but as a reader, how am I supposed to react to it? Can you set yourself up as a standard in authenticity when part of your mandate is to create as much press, negative or positive, as possible? How does that infect and affect the editorial choices?

And from a business perspective, what does it mean when part of your brand is built on sensationalism and goading your naysayers? Are investors attracted to that? And what if, big if, the media gets tired of stories about Goop? What free range rabbit will she have to pull out of her Stella McCartney hat? Attention is like a drug, and right now Goop is overflowing in supply. But what happens if we move onto something else and that supply runs out? Or are we destined to repeat the cycle over and over: she gives us something to complain about, and our complaints fuel her business forever and ever and ever. 

Are we in a co-dependent relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow?

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