Celebrities seem to have an incessant need to display themselves wherever and whenever they can. On the Web, this habit has given rise to the existence of official celebrity websites, which come in numerous shapes and sizes. But they all feature a plethora of self-indulgent information, a tendency to misuse the English language, and, most overwhelmingly, shameless and diverse ways of trying to sell themselves. Here are some of the worst (and most bizarre) examples of celebrities marketing themselves through their own websites.
Nearly 40 years after hitting his pop-culture zenith, TV's Batman is still trying to make a buck off that role. While you can't blame Adam West for trying, his online effort is still one of the most esoteric celebrity sites around, with some strange tales, a few eccentric remarks from West himself, and a generally bizarre feel that's somewhere between pure kitsch and post-modern irony. Unfortunately, you can't figure out what's intentionally ironic and what isn't. The confusion begins with the site's welcome message, which says, "Welcome citizens. As you know, the Bat Cave is my Ultra-Modern crime control center."
Meanwhile, one of the stories that West shares with us is entitled "What Was It," and includes this sentence: "My busy hands roamed from her arm to her back to her waistand then to a shocking reality: I had passionately caressed a cold, hard plastic cup."
Click on the bat phone page, and all you get is the following message:
After those layers of weirdness are peeled back, the shameless marketing part comes into view with a bunch of plain and autographed photos for sale, from $20 to about $80. Then there are the original pen and ink drawings, Signed By the Artist, for just $75. Don't you want your own piece of Bat Art?
As the site says on its homepage, no, this isn't the same Richard Hatch from Survivor. It's just the old star of Battlestar Galactica, who's parlayed that experience into a career of sorts as a motivational speaker. "I will share my own profound journey and the lessons I have learned and lead you through a series of fun and exciting ropes courses and exercises that will reawaken your spirit and give you some invaluable tools for living your dream," Hatch writes about his presentation, "The Art, Craft, and Business of Creating Money, Love and Fulfillment[TM]." If you're wondering whether Hatch has the philosophical chops to lead others to fulfillment, check out his short essays entitled "Thoughts," which includes this provocative concept: "The more energy we can access and produce, and the more specifically we can mobilize and focus it, the more power we have; the power to create our heart's desire."
But richardhatch.com's biggest mission is to further Hatch's claim on the Battlestar Galactica "legacy" by acting as his bully pulpit. One long editorial on why his "classic" show should stay on the Sci-Fi Channel begins with this urgent call to arms: "Do we lay down everything we believe in and allow the Sci-Fi Channel to have their way with one of the most beloved and underrated shows of all time? Or do we stand up and collectively shout from the rooftops? NO! We will not go quietly into the night."
Then there are sections devoted to Hatch's line of Battlestar Galactica products, including a trailer for his own proposed Galactica sequel (The Great War of Magellan), and a Galactica book section (yes, Hatch is an author, too) that informs us that "Additional content for this page will be online in August 2001."
Finally, Hatch's essay on 9/11 (for some reason, celebrities seem to think we need to hear how they reacted to it) proclaims, "Let turn this tragedy into an opportunity to create a world we can all believe in and carry us into a new era of peace and prosperity for all." That odd mix of bad grammar, New Age ideology, and capitalist idealism characterizes the entire site.
Vote for "Loaded" on TRL!!!
Jam the phone lines at 1-800-DIAL-MTV (1-800-342-5688)
This is the MOST effective way, so CALL CALL CALL!!!!
(Yes, you will get a busy signal often, but keep hitting re-dial)
(Call-in votes count more than online votes!)
Vote ONLINE at any time as many times as you can at MTV.com
And so the spell of hip, ultra-modern web design is broken: "Loaded" was released as a single in late 2000, making this message nearly two years old and horribly desperate. Does no one maintain this site anymore? Has Ricky Martin already fallen that far? There's also a mishmash of Martin memorabilia, such as song and video downloads and Ricky Martin screen savers, for those who still care to live the Vida Loca lifestyle.
We know Frankie Avalon as a celebrity from the beach movies of the early '60sBeach Blanket Bingo, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, etc. But who knew he was hard at work in the lab, working his magic to bring us wondrous advancements in beauty technology? Avalon is now president and CEO of Frankie Avalon Products Incorporated, a company devoted to selling facial wraps, mousse, herbal pills, conditioner, arthritis creams, body lotions, and tanning creams ("This 4 fl. oz. provides an instant streak-free-golden-tan and delivers umimediate gradification. You will have a natural looking tan.") His namesake URL actually just jumps to the vast emptiness of his own store in the Yahoo! shopping area, which humbly declares that these products are from "an international star of most admirable magnitude in music, movies, clubs, concerts, television, and now industry." See Frankie once each month on the Home Shopping Network peddling these wares; the rest of the month, you can play your CD of Frankie's songs, available here for $15.
Mr. Carters site is an extreme hagiography with extra servings of naive arrogance and indulgence throughouthis biography is actually entitled In the Beginning. Carter, a 14-year-old teenybopper with Britney's mix of pubescent sexuality and psuedo-innocence, recently released an album called Oh Aaron, a follow-up to Aaron's Party, his multi-platinum fall 2000 album. You'll find his attempt to capitalize on the fleeting nature of adolescent fame in the shopping section, which includes Aaron Carter bandanas, hats, keychains, calendars, posters, Aaron Carter dolls, and purple bandanaseverything with Carter's name inscribed in multiple. Twenty dollars gets you into Aaron's Official Fan Club, with the promise of chances to meet Aaron through VIP/Backstage passes and to receive private phone calls from Aaron. But he's merely a latecomer to the teen-pop fad who rode in on the efforts of his brother Nick, one of the Backstreet Boys. Those of us already out of high school can only wonder how long the branding of Aaron Carter will last. Can the bargain bins at Big Lots be that far away?
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