Jersey Shore was the show that turbo-charged reality TV.
It took place in a house in New Jersey packed with 32 cameras, all on 24/7.
The casting brief was for eight people to create a “very combustible, chaotic mess”.
Which is apparently what made it compulsive viewing.
The most combustible and chaotic of the lot was Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi.
Snooki was physically tiny, but her personality was dominating.
MTV promoted the series trumpeting her “hard partying, booze swilling antics”.
Snooki herself, said of the show “That’s why we fight, that’s why we drink – it’s like prison with cameras.”
The New York Times described her as creating “public disdain coupled with a strange appeal”.
During this time, she very publicly announced her breast-augmentation surgery.
She was also sentenced by a judge who described her as “a Lindsay Lohan wannabe”.
She was parodied in South Park, and parodied regularly on Saturday Night Live.
But she revelled in this, encouraged it even, because it made her more famous.
The audience for Jersey Shore’s 4th series was 8.87 million.
Her salary went from $5,000 per episode, to $30,000 then to $150,000.
She was the Guest-of-Honour at WWE Raw Wrestlemania XXVII.
There she slapped Vickie Guerrero, started a brawl with LayCool, and ended with a six person tag-team match which she won.
She was presented with the ‘WWE 2011 A-lister of the Year ‘Slammy Award’.
She was invited to address the students at Rutgers University, for a fee of $32,000.
The title of her talk was: “Study Hard but Party Harder”.
The New York Times said in 2010 Snooki was the most widely sold Hallowe’en costume.
So far, all of this information about Snooki is just for background.
None of it is surprising or creative.
But for me, what happened next is creative.
Snooki always carried a coach bag over her arm, very visibly in every situation.
For years it was a Brown Heritage Striped Satchel a cheap bag she bought at the mall.
Then a strange thing happened, she began carrying a Gucci Sukey Tote, costing $900.
That was strange, she hadn’t been the sort of person to carry expensive bags.
Where did she get it, did Gucci give it to her to promote it, why would they do that?
What damage would it do for the image of the Gucci bag?
Then she was arrested at the beach for being drunk, while prominently carrying the bag.
Photographs of a drunk and dishevelled Snooki with the bag were in all the papers.
Gucci were mortified, until word got out about how she got hold of it.
She didn’t buy it, she was sent it as a gift, by one of Gucci’s competitors.
Simon Doonan, of the New York Observer, says it’s the start of a new trend of UNbranding.
Instead of getting someone popular to publicly wear your brand, you get someone with totally the wrong image to publicly wear your competitor’s brand.
Instead of enhancing your brand, you ruin their brand.
Gucci may be trying to respond, Snooki was recently caught stealing money from the floor of a strip club and cramming it into a new $1,000 Louis Vuitton Amazone bag.
Who gave her that bag, did Gucci send her the more expensive competitor’s bag?
Simon Doonan says, he’s waiting to see what Goyard, Valextra, and Hermes (Birkin) will do.
He thinks they will each now send her their competitors’ bags.
Personally, I think it’s a much more creative trend than simply sending your brand to a famous ‘influencer’.
To send your competitors’ brand to a famous anti-influencer is a different kind of targeting.
It’s more aggressive, it understands what brands are really about.
It takes more thought, it’s more creative.