Opinion

PUBLICITY STUNTS: In Defense of Abeiku Santana

By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo

My brother, colleague and friend, Eugene Osarfo-Nkansah got hitched to Victoria Lebene in a beautiful marriage ceremony that was well-attended by family, friends and industry folks last week. God bless their union!

The wedding was one of the biggest trending topics in the week; generating a lot of talk with the seemingly serious one coming from celebrated broadcast journalist, Abeiku Santana, who stated in an interview with MzGee of Multimedia that Victoria’s headline-generating relationship with veteran actor, Kofi Adjorlolo was a publicity stunt.

The Okay FM presenter stated that the stunt was purposely orchestrated by himself, Counsellor Lutterodt and his other lieutenants to project Victoria into the limelight.

Those comments have become infamous, with many calling out the ace broadcaster for making such a revelation and others berating him for the timing of the disclosure.

Kofi Adjorlolo & Victoria

Nothing wrong with PR stunts

Publicity stunts are nothing new. They have always been with us and since time immemorial, people have been crafting moments that will generate much-needed buzz.

History states that publicity stunts date as far back as 365 BC, where the Greek arsonist, Herostratus, in a bid to ensure that his name was not lost in the sands of time burnt down the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

In show business, stunts have been part of us since the 1930s, with movie production houses, record labels and personalities using all forms of gimmicks to generate attention.

In an industry which is attention-driven and where getting a big break is crucial to success, celebrities have been manipulating the general public in their quest to get attention fixated on them or whatever product they are selling.

Whiles stating that publicity stunts are part of the business, it must also be noted that not all of such stunts have yielded positive results. Some PR moves have shattered the careers and prospects of personalities and brands, all due to their lack of proper planning and execution.

Good intentions for Victoria

If Abeiku Santana’s assertions are true, then clearly, it tells of somebody who has a good understanding of show business and his ploy to project the model/actress/presenter was one done with good intentions.

The fact is a publicity stunt should serve a purpose, such as to promote an upcoming film or album release, an event/show, project a product or to make an individual popular. Some stunts seem to serve no other purpose other than to make the public stand up and take notice.

The decision to use a love/romantic relationship as the basis for projecting Victoria was the most effective, as records show that stunts based on relationships, marriages and divorce get the better results.

From 2008 to 2012, The Twilight movies became some of the best grossing movies at the Box Office and two of the stars, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison, were revealed to be not only lovers in the movie but in real life as well, something the publicists of the movie made up just to generate attention and sell more tickets in the cinemas.

In 2010, in order to garner positive ratings for Disney Channel’s original movie Camp Rock 2, producers and publicists portrayed two of the leading stars, Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato as being in a relationship.

In 2013, in a bid to promote a new single, DJ Khaled proposed to Nicki Minaj on MTV with the songstress accepting and wearing a diamond engagement ring – a stunt that got the media into a frenzy, albeit short-lived.

Nicki-Minaj-Confesses-Khaled-Proposal-Was-A-Publicity-Stunt

Beyoncé’s 2016 Lemonade album broke records and subsequent tours were sold out; the selling point of it all was the publicised infidelity her rapper husband Jay-Z and a supposed divorce in the works.

Clearly, Santana was spot on in utilising the same old trick to get Victoria the needed buzz. Did it work? Absolutely!

Bad timing for disclosure?

Some have chastised the experienced broadcaster for divulging such information at the time when we were celebrating a marriage ceremony. Some have also derided him for exposing some secrets of the craft while some have even been audacious to state that this disclosure will destroy the integrity he commands in the industry.

The most important thing was to see Eugene and Victoria get married, making every other talk of previous relationships and dalliances inconsequential but blame not Santana.

Abeiku & Lebene

For the many followers of show business who lack proper understanding and may still use Victoria’s purported relationship with the veteran actor against her and her husband in whatever form, it was critical for Abeiku Santana to come clean. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it!

What that exposé has done is to clear any misconception anybody might have had about Victoria and that ultimately quells any unnecessary perception they may hold about the couple of whatever links with Kofi Adjorlolo

It may seem trivial, but to Abeiku, it was not and I see nothing wrong with his proclamation and its timing too.

Disclosure won’t hurt Abeiku Santana

Ideally, it is best to keep these PR stunts a secret. Over the period, not so many personalities, publicists and others have openly come out to state that whatever they did to generate attention, drive awareness and sell products – have been strictly PR stunts.

Usually, you get close sources or former representatives come out to make such claims, not the major players involved in such moves. That makes Abeiku Santana look odd but he has company.

DJ Khaled surprised us all with a public proposal to Nicki Minaj and she was spotted sporting an engagement ring a few days after. Later, Nicki admitted that the whole thing was fake, a statement later confirmed by the singer’s mother.

Jay Z and Beyounce with ‘On The Run’ Tour

Prior to the sold-out On The Run music tour, Beyoncé, her husband, Jay-Z and sister, Solange, were involved in a highly-publicised elevator fight – an incident that got the world talking in the months leading to the tour. Matthew Knowles, father of Beyoncé claimed that all that drama was just to drum up publicity for the tour.

Anna Wintour, Editor for the popular Lifestyle Magazine, Vogue, admitted that her spat with Kanye West over the latter’s demand that his wife, Kim Kardashian be placed on the cover, was all a publicity stunt to create buzz and eventually sell the magazine. According to her, the plan worked!

The talk of Abeiku Santana losing credibility over the disclosure holds true but he will survive this episode and continue to engineer more publicity stunts. How do I know this?

Firstly, we easily forget! In the next year or so, many people would have forgotten this, considering the fact that the public is always in a haste to have a bite at the next celebrity gossip. By this time next year, there would have been enough celebrity gossip to keep us overly full and bored.

Secondly, the revered broadcaster is too experienced to let this affect his stride.  With over two decades of orchestrating stunts in the industry, he would easily maneuver his way around this issue and move on and even come up with more well-planned stunts. Once show business exists, publicity stunts won’t die – let’s deal with them!

 

 

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