The Kardashian Brand, specifically Kim Kardashian, has utilized Para-social Interactions in order to strengthen relations between their fan base. This is executed primarily through the usage of social media to create an intimate bond between the Kardashian’s and their devoted following. The term Parasocial Interaction was discussed in Jennifer Anette Lueck article, “Friend-zone with benefits: The para-social advertising of Kim Kardashian”. In this piece she argues that Para-social Interactions takes place between the Celebrity and their fans.
Furthermore, she exclaims that Parasocial Interactions act as advertisement as it involves positive feedback for the celebrity brand. She writes, “The theory of Parasocial Interaction offers a valuable basis for the study of this phenomenon because it classifies communication between celebrities and fans as imitation of closeness and friendship, which makes faithful fan ship with a high market value possible” . This conveys the idea that Parasocial Interactions increases the value of a brand because it encourages the possibility of maintaining a devoted fan base.
Celebrities, including the Kardashians, require this devoted fan base to gain endorsements as well as properly advertise their own personal businesses. For example, Kim Kardashian attempts to increase positive parasocial interactions with her fan base by retweeting fans’ posts that relate to her and discussing it. Kim Kardashian retweeted a fan’s tweet that simply states, “Really want a Krispy Kreme doughnut rn… fml” and comments on it “Me too OMG! This method constitutes a more intimate relationship between fans and her celebrity persona that a fan cannot receive from envying her on the red carpet encouraging the fan to support Kardashian brand financially. In his book Stars, Richard Dyer discusses the relationship between stardom and fan perception of stars of celebrities. He writes, “Stars can be seen as ordinary people who live more expensively than the rest of us but are not essentially transformed by this” . This conveys an explanation as to why someone like Kim Kardashian would need to make post to make herself seem normal.
A celebrity’s following on twitter generally constitutes the ability to gain more endorsements. In her piece, Lueck discusses an interview with a popular reality television star, Lauren Conrad, who remarked, “Most deals today require Twitter, Facebook and other forms of digital outreach because larger followings and stronger connections with your market translate to a greater scope of influence, adding immeasurable value to your brand. (Forbes Online 2011, paras 1 and 3)” .
This implies that the larger following that individuals have the more likely they are to be endorsed by companies because the following will likely support brands that the celebrity supports. This potential for endorsements is a brand quality that is emphasized throughout almost of the Kardashian’s careers and is key in acquiring revenue for almost every Kardashian. Amanda Scheiner McClain discusses this briefly in her piece when she asserts, “Kim Kardashian, the brand, sells not only her own products but other companies as well. ” By obtaining the necessary sized fan base this is one step in achieving this goal.
Another step is proper promotion of the brand on her social media account. This method of using other companies’ endorsements as a means of acquiring wealth for the Kardashian brand is used by multiple Kardashian members. One example of this is Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s Balmain endorsement. Balmain is a Parisian fashion Brand, whose creative director is Olivier Rousteing. Due to their large following as well as friendship with the creative director, the two members of the Kardashian Brand were chosen to support their Balmain image, gaining major endorsements.
Kylie Jenner posted images of her wearing Balmain clothing on Instagram. As fashion icons, the more Kylie and Kendall Jenner post images on social media wearing Balmain the more likely consumers are to purchase products by Balmain because of their large following, hence increasing endorsements for the Kardashians. While the Kardashian brand may utilize this method often to earn their brand money, they do not come cheap. In fact, McClain asserts, “A Hollywood Reporter article asserted that Kardashian, charges as much as $25,000 to simply mention and link to a brand or company in a tweet.
It’s so effective of a tool that businesses have begun including Twitter clauses in their contracts with the family committing the girls to a set number of tweets about their product (Newman & Bruce, 2011)” This conveys the idea that because of their brands following the Kardashian’s have noticed the value of a single mention of a brand in their Twitter post. These contracts mandate that the Kardashian girls support their company through mentioning them in these tweets, thus aiding in promotion of other companies.
This is a huge market for the Kardashians to gain large payoffs simply from posting about a company on social media. However, the Kardashian’s make use of social media for more than advertisement and revenue; they use social media to shape their image. Shaping the Kardashian image One of these products is their sexuality and image. The Kardashian’s fall in to a grouping of individuals who are non-white because of their Armenian heritage and therefore their curves are associated with a group that is considered oversexualized.
In her piece, “Hottentot in the age of reality TV: sexuality, race, and Kim Kardashian’s visible body”, Alexandra Sastre discusses the relationship between sexuality, race, and the female body. Sastre argues that the non-white body is overtly sexualized and used for the purpose of gaining monetary compensation. She asserts, “She is lauded by her fans for promoting an alternative to the ideal of extreme thinness, and vilified by critics who denounce her as superficial and manipulative of her body for profit; in short, she and her body are consistently talked about.
This implies that Kim Kardashian has built a brand that relies on using her body as a means of gaining attention. It suggests that Kim Kardashian’s fan base is intrigued by the representation of her body on magazine covers and on social media. Kim Kardashian is conscious of this idea and therefore using her Twitter and Snapchat to consistently keep her fans updated with new pics of her curvy body. Kim Kardashian is known for her “nude shoots” that she takes and posts by herself in selfies or professionally shot nudes that she then posts on social media sites.
One example of this occurred shortly after her daughter North West was born. Kim Kardashian took to Instagram to show off her post-baby body. Kim posted an image of her in the mirror of what seemed to be her room. Kim was wearing absolutely nothing as she posed seductively with her breast and genital area covered by two black censor thin lines that she added before posting the image. This picture drew increased controversy and was criticized by many, however it did the job of gaining attention on her blog from sexuality.
Furthermore, Kim Kardashian uses her Twitter account as a tool to shape her image into someone who is relatable. The Kardashians all live a rather extravagant life and this may cause the everyday fan to idolize them; however, it does not make the fan feel connected to them. In her book, McClain discusses the effects of social media on the Kardashian Brand. Here she asserts, “Through the personal tidbit, fans are seemingly permitted some insight into Kim’s state of mind, her daily life, and her personality.
Of course, these are the aspects of her life that she chooses to share. ” This conveys that the personal tidbit quality of Kim Kardashian’s social life holds a tactical quality to it. She utilizes this tidbit as a means of restoring the idea that she may be famous, but she still is normal. This is an effective tool as normal tweets such as her posting on Twitter, “Gonna try and run 3 miles today. So tired but gotta do it! ” This tweet is seemingly insignificant, but it serves multiple functions such as create a sense of normality to Kim Kardashian’s life.
For a few moments the fan can relate to a normal activity that Kim Kardashian engages in such as running. Conclusion/ Discussion What does this mean for celebrity culture? The Kardashian’s claim to fame has ideally changed the way celebrities acquire fame and success. Since the beginning of the reign of the Kardashians, “microcelebrities” have evolved. This term was coined in Alice E. Marwick’s article, “Instafame: Luxury Selfies in the Attention Economy”. This article examines the social media outlet Instagram and its ability to allow a normal person access to fame.
It argues that Instagram is a social media outlet that can take micro-celebrities or pseudo-celebrities and give them the same social status as actual celebrities. Marwick writes, “Leleboo_phucku is the Instagram account of Goodridge, a young woman who is notable primarily for being a close friend of the Barbadian pop singer Rihanna. While Goodridge is not a celebrity, her proximity to celebrity has made her one on Instagram” . This conveys the idea that acquiring wealth through social media is now a market that many individuals tackle.
Leleboo_Phucku (Goodridge), formally known as Leandra Simone, has used her Instagram fame as a starting point to launch her own cosmetics line. Following similar methods as Kim Kardashian, Instagram has aided Simone in changing her image, from Instagram star to business entrepreneur. Overall, my thesis has been proven correct as it has been clearly illustrated that the Kardashian’s have used social media as a means of acquiring increased levels of fame and fortune. The Kardashian usage of social media has opened a market that has increased the accessibility of fame in the modern day. The Kardashian brand has taken social media.