What Would Olivia Pope Do — The Justin Bieber Edition

Let’s pretend I am Olivia Pope for a second (I have a background in marketing and studied media, PR, and crisis communications in school so I’m not too far off). I know the way celebrities manipulate the media and how crisis communications principles are used in celebrity PR damage control.

I have noticed one celebrity in particular whose camp has been trying very hard to save his image. His name rhymes with Bustin Jieber. Let’s refer to him as “punk-ass kid” from now on. Punk-ass kid has had a lot of bad press in the last year, negatively affecting his public perception. Acting like a punk-ass kid can’t be good for album or concert sales. Now what would Olivia Pope do? I’m pretty sure she would recommend the following:

Step 1) Acknowledge the problem/apologize

Having a roast is a great way to call out punk-ass kid on his general douchebaggery and obnoxious behavior. At the end of the roast, he should give a genuine apology for being a little shit.

Step 2) Disappear from the media for a while

You may have noticed that celebrities lay low after they do something bad. I’m convinced this is why they go to rehab—just so that they can stay out of the public eye for a while until things quiet down. The public has a short memory but can we really forget about punk-ass kid peeing in a restaurant bucket and yelling “F*** Bill Clinton?”

Step 3) Reposition the celebrity back in the spotlight as a rehabilitated adult.

  • Cry in public. Make sure the crying looks convincing or else it will backfire. For example, don’t mysteriously burst in to tears on stage after a performance at the VMAs. That just insults our intelligence.
  • New look. Try to appear as clean-cut and mature as possible. Don’t go for anything drastic like dyeing your hair platinum blonde. Also, when you debut your new look, make sure you don’t get caught complaining that the camera was in your way during your performance.
  • Penisgate 2015. No. Just no. Well, I guess it would make you look like an adult if they are “accidentally” made public. But don’t be a dick about them and say there was shrinkage. Just avoid this tactic if at all possible. Really, no.

Step 4) Remind people why the celebrity is famous.

Punk-ass kid needs to get back to work and make sure his work is better than ever. Maybe release a catchy song and call it “Sorry.” Make sure he is clear about what it is exactly that he is sorry for—whether it’s vandalism, DUI, assault, racism or using derogatory terms for women or all of the above.

Next Steps

  • Stop acting like a jerk.
  • Avoid hanging out with other jerks. He needs to spend time with more respected celebrities. He might want to repair his relationship with Bill Clinton or maybe Angelina Jolie would consider adopting him.
  • Align him with a charity or have the media “catch him” helping someone. This does NOT mean providing high quality weed to starving children in Africa.
  • Connect with fans. This does NOT mean sleeping with them. It should also be made clear that sleeping with fans does not count as charity work.

If you are a fan of Justin Bieber, I respect that—but at least be aware that some of his moves are calculated and (not very well) controlled.

Let’s face it, if Olivia Pope were in charge of this plan none of this ridiculousness would have even happened. She would “handle it.”

I guess you can lead a punk-ass kid to water but you can’t stop him from flashing everyone then peeing in it.

Tricia Barendregt
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