Why is Charlie Sheen Still “Winning”?

March 23rd, 2011

Why are we still talking about Charlie Sheen? Two-plus weeks after Sheen was fired from “Two and a Half Men,” every media outlet still wants a piece of Charlie, over three million people are following him on Twitter and, according to Sheen, he has tons of acting offers coming in. Sure, his antics are entertaining, but given the catastrophic events that have taken place in Japan and our country’s new military action in Libya, how is Charlie Sheen managing to stay in the news?

There are several reasons why the public still cares about the king of scandal. And it has a lot to do with Charlie Sheen’s hold-nothing-back public relations strategy. As outlandish as it may seem, there are some great PR lessons to be learned from Sheen:

1. A loud message is a strong message: Instead of hiding, Sheen has turned lemons into lemonade and has come back stronger than ever with a loud, repetitive, memorable message. What is his message? We’re not quite sure, but we know that it has a lot to do with “winning,” “warlocks” and “tiger-blood.”

2. Not all publicity is necessarily bad publicity: Sheen has taken control of bad publicity and used it to his advantage. As we promote at Braithwaite, “controlling the narrative” is crucial. Sheen has responded quickly, honestly, and effectively – working with the media, not against them.

3. Brand yourself and stick to it: Sheen has marketed himself as outrageous and, as a result, we naturally associate Sheen with scandal. Unlike other celebrities, Sheen has emerged from domestic violence incidents, DUIs and drug arrests scot-free time and time again. Charlie Sheen knows who he is, has absolute faith in his “brand” and acts accordingly. So what if he happens to be crazy? The one constant about Charlie is that we never know what to expect. So, he always keeps us guessing, surprised and intrigued to find out what he’ll do next.

What will Charlie Sheen do next? There are rumors that Sheen may be re-hired by “Two and a Half Men.” He’s embarking on a national standup comedy tour. And, he’s in talks with FOX about a late-night show. It’s safe to say that Charlie Sheen, lunacy and all, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

SPEAK UP. Will you tune in to watch or tune out Charlie’s future acting gigs and outlandish comments?

Posted Under: Branding, Crisis Communications, Public Relations
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4 Responses to “Why is Charlie Sheen Still “Winning”?”

  1. Miranda W. says:

    Credit Charlie and his new publicist of 2+ weeks, Larry Solters, the best publicist in the business.

  2. Sarah Johns says:

    Wow! Who would’ve thought that you could learn something from Charlie’s crazy ranting! What a great blog post.

  3. Jason Ginenthal says:

    Charlie is flying high right now — but in the end, this can all end badly. Most of his success right now is based on the fact that he’s giving the media what they want: constant material, much of it in the form of online videos that can easily go viral.

    Still, let’s not forget that he is in fact an addict of some sort. Without proper medical intervention this can end BADLY — be it an overdose or, God forbid, harm to one of his children.

    What’s also interesting is the fact that Charlie seems to be getting a “pass” on his issues, while Britney, Lindsay, etc. have had a much harder time.

  4. admin says:

    Thanks for all of the comments! Jason, you’re right – this can all end very badly. You bring up an interesting point about Charlie getting a “pass” while other female celebrities continue to be lampooned for similar behavior. On this note, an op-ed contributor for the NYT wrote an article earlier in March that you might like to read: Look forward to reading more comments from you!

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