Typically these days, when a celebrity covers a business magazine, it’s all about their entrepreneurial wins. Ryan Reynolds’s Maximum Effort comes to mind – and he and his agency deserve it. Yes, what ended up happening with Chris Noth and Peloton f-cked up what was a really great marketing pivot but I don’t think that situation hurt Ryan or Maximum Effort in the short or long term where their reputation is concerned.
But then there’s a cover story like Jessica Simpson’s latest for Bloomberg Business Week. Ultimately, yes, it’s an optimistic story, and she definitely comes out in a positive light, but that’s preceded by a lot of setback, a lot of money lost, and a lot of money spent to get back what’s priceless: her name.
There are a lot of licencing and contract and other industry-specific details in this piece about Jessica’s company that a decade ago was always accompanied by that word – “billion”. That was the purported value, it’s not what Jessica and her mother, Tina, with whom she runs the business, were taking home. The report walks through the company’s challenges over the last several years and, vaguely, how Jessica and Tina were able to buy back control of their brand, and the purpose here, at least for Jessica and Tina, is to set the business up for success now that they have financing in place and a solid foundation from which to not only recover but to rebuild. And the timing couldn’t be better.
Open Book was one of the most effective personal and professional decisions Jessica has ever made. It’s a GREAT celebrity memoir, one of the best celebrity memoirs. Jessica wasn’t just coming to terms with her own past but she also compelled the culture to come to terms with how she was treated in the past – and that includes how we covered Jessica here, at this website. It was kind of like her version of Framing Britney Spears, except she actually had a voice, the only voice, in the documentation of her experiences.
But Open Book also doubled down on why Jessica Simpson appeals to the consumer. As noted in the Bloomberg piece, “…stay at home moms, tweens, everyone seemed to see themselves in Simpson: “I am you,” they’d tell her at her appearances.
We overuse the word “relatable” when it comes to celebrities but it applies here to Jessica Simpson’s relationship with her following – and it’s been a constant theme of her celebrity. She is a wealthy, beautiful woman, and yet as people keep telling her, “I am you”, they see themselves in her, through her: her mistakes, her struggles, her silliness, and of course they aspire to her eventual triumphs.
Which includes this recent triumph: being on the cover of Bloomberg after nearly losing the right to use her own name on her products, and sharing that story with people… for her, I can’t see a downside. It’s yet another stumble, followed by a scrappy comeback, and this is now becoming signature to Jessica Simpson. Once more people find out about this, and they know now that, for sure, her brand is hers, I can’t imagine they won’t want to shop even more. There’s an added dimension to the story behind her business. People have another reason to root for her.
And the thing about her shoes is – they’re great for the price point!