Who You Callin' Ugly?

October 22nd, 2007

In the world of branding, being dubbed the “most” of anything is usually the sign of a successful brand. 

This month’s Travel & Leisure ranked 25 major American cities by resident attractiveness.  (Drum roll please…)

Philadelphia finished dead last.  So, now we’re the most unattractive and the most obese.  As resident Philadelphians, how do we embrace these superlatives with open arms? 

Here’s the bottom line: We’re gaining recognition.  At least we made the list. You can look at it in two ways – we either got dead last.  Or, Philadelphia made it to the top 25 most attractive cities in the U.S.  Either way, we’re on the list. 

And, who’s to say being last or worst doesn’t earn popularity?  In fact, many brands who have garnered seemingly negative titles/superlatives are those that succeed.  Let’s consider Roseanne Barr as a brand.  She’s been dubbed the loudest, fattest, most obnoxious celebrity in Hollywood.  These “negatives” brought about a nine year run of her own sitcom, Roseanne, an Emmy for her role on the show, and a place as one of Hollywood’s funniest leading ladies.  Not bad, Ro.

Let’s also consider Hollywood’s best/worst dressed lists.  People don’t care about making a best dressed list anymore.  There are so many “best dressed lists” that they have lost their credibility. Now whose list hasn’t lost credibility?  Richard Blackwell’s Worst Dressed Women.  Since its inception in 1960, Mr. Blackwell’s list remains as one of the most-feared list for celebs to find their names.  Interestingly, though, despite Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan’s repeated appearances on Blackwell’s list, they still reign as two of Hollywood’s most sought after celebrities.  Their fashion choices are a part of their successful brands, even while being “awarded” a place on Blackwell’s list. 

Philadelphia may have been christened the Nation’s fattest and least attractive, but that doesn’t stop us from succeeding as a leader in city and economic development.  Rather than wallow in the negative, let’s remember who we really are: a diverse, multicultural, thriving city with some of the best restaurants, business enterprises and residential living situations in the nation. 

Let’s take those negatives and expand our brand. I don’t remember the last time anyone said Bill Gates was hot.  Doesn’t seem to be hurting that guy too much.

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