Gwyneth didn’t graduate
Jonathan, a long time reader of this site, and co-founder of our Gwyneth Paltrow Love Club (we are the only two members), sent me a note about Gwyneth today. It’s from the new NYT article on Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. Before you read that though, you should read Vanity Fair’s profile of her from January of this year. It’s fascinating. I’m still making my way through this New York Times piece and I think I might wait to savour the rest of it in bed tonight but for our purposes here, what caught Jonathan’s attention, and now mine, is that our G makes an appearance.
“Even though the actress Gwyneth Paltrow had created a best-selling cookbook and popular lifestyle blog, Mayer, who habitually asked deputies where they attended college, balked at hiring her as a contributing editor for Yahoo Food. According to one executive, Mayer disapproved of the fact that Paltrow did not graduate college.”
As my colleague Traci Melchor would say, it’s another case of Blonde On Blonde Crime. I mean, Gwyneth judges and she has been judged. For her attitude, for her privilege, for her price tags…
But have you ever heard of her being judged for her post-secondary pedigree? Or lack of one?
You laugh. Of course you do. And it IS indeed funny. But was it a good decision by Mayer?
Put it this way, if the goal was to drive traffic to Yahoo Food, and increase the profile of the page…
How was that a good decision?
Gwyneth Paltrow is a draw. If you hate her, it’s probably even more a draw. And she also draws coverage. Any time Gwyneth does anything, people link to it. All the weekly magazine websites. All the blogs. Gawker, Jezebel, Vulture…
We all blog about her blog.
We all write about what she’s doing. Gwyneth creates content. She’s the best material.
So what the f-ck does a university degree have to do with it?
But you know what Mayer did instead?
“Over the summer, Mayer greenlighted a plan to hire Katie Couric, the former anchor of “CBS Evening News” and former co-host of the “Today” show... Couric, who was then hosting a failing daytime talk show on ABC, told Mayer she wanted to do something big for Yahoo. Couric had previously worked with the company to produce a video series, “Katie’s Take,” in which she interviewed experts on topics like health and parenting. Despite Couric’s star power, users didn’t click on her videos, no matter how prominently editors positioned them on the page. Mayer ignored those metrics, and in mid-2013, she named Couric Yahoo’s “global anchor” in a deal worth more than $5 million a year.”
With all respect to Katie Couric, it’s not surprising that Katie’s Take didn’t do well. Because Katie Couric doesn’t live on the internet and neither does her fan base. Also, do you care what Katie’s wearing? What her living room looks like?
It’s not supposed to be about that, sure. But that’s how you get them there. You draw them in with The Gwyneth, and then you deliver the information once they’ve arrived. Gwyneth built a business, a lifestyle brand, on that very concept. She has a fitness line, she’s doing blow dry shoppes now, she has her GOOP on top of all that…
And it’s attracting the demo that Yahoo needs to be reaching.
During an interview with CNBC this week, while discussing Blo, Gwyneth talks about how she contributes:
"I think my strengths are in anything aesthetic so the look of the salons, trends, social media.”
She’s not wrong there, is she? Gwyneth has great taste. You, personally, might not agree but you also can’t deny that it’s a generally accepted statement: Gwyneth Paltrow has great taste. So if you’re Yahoo and you trying to go lifestyle, should you really be dismissing a tastemaker simply because she doesn’t have a diploma?
It’s so f-cking weird!
Click here to read the Mayer NYT article.
Monica Schipper /Rachel Murray /Getty Images