Charlie Sheen, aka “F-18”, “Warlock”, “Torpedo of Truth” — oh please — is instructive to anyone pondering the vicissitudes of brands, particularly celebrities as brands.
Unless you have been off planet Earth for the last year, you have surely watched the not-so-slow train wreck called Charlie Sheen. Once a $1.8 million per episode likeable lout on Two and a Half Men, Charlie has morphed into an uncontrolled, whacked-out liability to Brand Sheen and likely eviscerated any endorsement potential.
Granted, there is no rulebook defining normative behavior of a “star”, and the public has made allowances for most eccentric or even ‘off the meter’ conduct in the past. However, it appears the “Winner” has wildly veered out of the acceptability envelope, an act that few, if any, celebrity brands can survive.
Celebrity brands, though more elastic, are ultimately as vulnerable as any other brand — of note, the other “Tiger”. Charlie is proving that you should never assume your brand is indestructible, no matter how bright your “star”, how quotable you think you are, or how well you leverage social media.
Charlie: the app. Last week, Sheen announced “The MaSheen”, an app available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. If Twitter or the tabloids aren’t feeding your need for Sheenisms, now you can carry "the mind of Charlie Sheen in your pocket". Even at a mere $2.99 it appears overpriced and leaves this writer skeptical of its earning potential or its restorative qualities to Brand Sheen. You just can’t out-clever virulent behavior.
His 20-city My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option odyssey is a fallacious attempt to create an entertaining, and profitable, perambulation through Charlie’s fecund mind. Rather, this "circus macabre" reeks of a desperate attempt to turn the inexplicable into a variety show. Yes, a brand may be built, but not one extensible to endorsement deals.
One wonders, too, if Charlie is angling to be the next 85-year old man dating 24-year olds. That “brand” hasn’t proven profitable for Hugh Hefner. And, of course, what many may have been anticipating, one of the ‘goddesses’, Bree Olson, saw the light and exited stage left, with a breakup via text message. How befitting. How sad.