Since I was a senior in high school, I have watched Betty White. Yes, I watched the Golden Girls. Once the Golden Girls program was no longer gracing my television, I thought White’s career would never resurface — I was wrong.
Snickers ran an ad featuring White during the 2009 Super Bowl that resurrected and reinvented White’s career. My first thought about the 30 second time slot, nice move BW. Then I saw the Saturday Night Live skit and thought that White really had some good PR standing behind her. Since White’s début in 2009, her publicists have given their 88-year-old actress a new image and a new marketing strategy.
According to PRNewser, “Due to the popularity of her appearance in a Snickers ad, more than 188,000 people have joined a Facebook group in an effort to make former Golden Girls star Betty White a Saturday Night Live host.”
Publicists have branded White as a crass, quick tongued, grandmother figure, and it has worked. They have reached a new audience that most likely was not a fan before 2009 (myself excluded). White now stars and is featured in numerous sitcoms and talk shows. What’s next? According to a press release, Jerry Leigh is offering Betty White apparel. For a limited time, fans can wear White’s face on t-shirts and sweatshirts by purchasing them through the site hoodiebuddy.com.
It is no doubt that White has good publicists who know how to move her career forward in a way that reaches a new and younger audience. But how much is too much? Is there such a thing as too much branding? Could the apparel be an example of this? And most importantly, what is the strategy behind Betty White products?