Charlie Sheen Could Teach Wall Street a Lesson: Matthew Lynn
8 March 2011
, by Matthew Lynn (Bloomberg)http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-08/charlie-sheen-could-teach-wall-street-a-lesson-commentary-by-matthew-lynn.htmlExcerpt:
It would take most of us a few dozen lifetimes to amass 2 million followers on Twitter. And yet Charlie Sheen managed it in less than a week.
Last month, CBS Corp. (CBS) discontinued the hit comedy show “Two and a Half Men” after Sheen’s public jousting with senior management over a binge that the wild-man actor has described as “epic” and “radical.” Since then, he has become one of the biggest names on the planet.
What is fascinating about this whole fandango isn’t Sheen’s public dramas. It is the way he has given us a master-class in modern media promotion and how Wall Street shareholders, who ultimately own his former employer, have allowed themselves to be so completely outwitted.
Big companies seem to expect their celebrities to have stepped straight out of a 1950s suburb. From Kate Moss, to Tiger Woods, to Charlie Sheen, any hint of “inappropriate” behavior has the sponsors running faster than one of Sheen’s female companions can drop her, er, earrings.
And yet if there is a single lesson to be learned from the last decade, it is that the public -- or the customer -- is more forgiving. In fact, the more outrageously a celebrity behaves, and the less contrition he or she shows, the more we find them alluring. It pays to be bad, and slightly nutty as well.
If CBS can’t figure that out, perhaps it’s time the shareholders changed the management. Sheen clearly knows a lot more about how 21st-century business operates than they do.
‘Sober Valley Lodge’