Kim's Trumping Paris in the Celebutante Wars
By Jo Piazza Posted Jul 18th 2010 09:00AM
Paris Hilton has been a part of our world since 2003. Since then she has evolved from a club-hopping, panty-eschewing, party princess into a global brand.
And like most successful businesses, Hilton spawned imitators, other wealthy socialites who, because of their family money and their good looks also thought they deserved to be famous. In 2007 Kim Kardashian, Hilton's former friend entered the celebutante market, determined to reach Hilton levels of success. Kardashian used the Paris Hilton business model of utilizing personal exploitation to sell both her image and consumer goods, and as the second mover in the market was able to learn from Hilton's mistakes and did indeed become quite successful.
But now Kim has become so much more. Kim has used Keeping Up With the Kardashians as the mothership for various product extensions and have managed to cannibalize a lot of the consumer mindshare that used to belong to Paris Hilton.
We can wax on about the qualitative aspects of the celebutante wars for hours, but we like it when we can introduce some numbers into the equation. That's why we enlisted Davie Brown Entertainment, of the branding and licensing firm The Marketing Arm, those geniuses behind the Davie Brown Index, a quantitative way that brands can score the appeal of different celebrities to pit Hilton against Kardashian to see who is on top these days.
Hilton's brand awareness today is at 98% saturation according to the Davie Brown Index. That puts her in league with stars like Julia Roberts, Elvis Presley, Michael Jordan, George Clooney and Jack Nicholson. Kardashian's is 20 points lower at 78% saturation. That puts her in league with names like Jude Law, Stephen King, Derek Jeter, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jesse James. Not bad, but a much different group than Hilton's. Still, Kim is known by about 80 percent of all U.S. consumers which is nothing to sneeze at.
But Kim is both more marketable and more likable, meaning that marketers want to attach her to their brands and that consumers want to buy those brands.
Kardashian has a stronger appeal than Hilton (59 vs 44). Kardashian also tops Hilton is every other attribute, including trendsetter (64-57), endorsement potential (57-47), and aspiration (51-39). Over three years (between 2006-2009 when Kardashian began entering the scene), Hilton's scores have remained steady, though her awareness jumped 12 points during that span. Her aspiration the amount that people say they want to be like her), however, has dipped 13 points (from 52 to 39).
So it looks like Kim is winning this war, for now. But Paris is a smart lady and there is no doubt that she is laying in wait, rubbing her hands together and launching an evil scheme to catapult herself back on top.
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