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  • Writer's pictureJack Chen

Manufacturing Celebrity W1

The two readings this week explored the methods used to build up one's frame from the perspective of two distinct eras - 19th Century in the case of "Listening and Longing", and early 2000s in "Teen Titans: The Man Who Made Justin Bieber". Despite the difference in technology and societal structure between the two eras, the key element used to capture people's attention remained surprisingly similar - that of building a captivating narrative.

In "Listening and Longing", Dodge built an image for himself as an established musician by associating himself with famous opera star Jenny Lind. Dodge began his campaign by purchasing Lind's tickets at a very high price at an auction in order to gain the initial media attention, then follow up with spreading posters with an image of himself and Lind beside each other to consolidate the narrative that he is associated with Lind. In "Teen Titans", we see Braun building a different narrative for Bieber designed for the contemporary media landscape dominated by social media. By purposely recording Bieber playing instruments that looked too big for him, Braun emphasized Bieber's young age in order to further highlight his musical talents. This combined with Braun's "authentic marketing" approach built on top of Justin Bieber's original popularity as a YouTuber built an initial image for Bieber as a authentic, and relatable young artist full of talent - a narrative which no doubt contributed to Bieber's later rise to fame as an iconic pop star.

In both Dodge and Bieber's cases, we see while brute force media exposure is essential in building one's fame, it is the narrative propagated using media that truly captures people's attention.

Attached image is the graph of some celebrities which I followed through my life so far

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