Among thousands of celebrities, we all have our favorites. We follow their movies, their sports games, their interests, their music, and much more. We admire them, making them subconsciously a part of our lives. For these reasons, many advertisers use celebrities to promote products. Celebrities create interest and force people to listen because we feel as if we “know” these celebrities. However, when a celebrity creates a socially unacceptable mishap, the celebrity’s value typically declines. Such is the case with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams.
Until recently, Brian Williams, an infamous journalist and NBC news anchor, was among the top news anchors. However, NBC suspended Williams for six months without pay for misrepresenting a news story. Williams’ faux pas is an expensive one for NBC. Promoting a product takes much time and money to gain a following. Therefore, removing logos associated with Williams while he is suspended results in a costly move for NBC. Further, NBC loses Williams followers and those who feel that he should have received a harsher punishment. While Williams has not been fired, his job is still in question as he hires lawyers to defend his career in light of a morality clause in his contract. Even if Williams returns after suspension, NBC has a trust issue on its hands. The public will likely be skeptical as it does not always forgive and forget easily. Therefore, NBC’s credibility is at stake on how it proceeds.
People put celebrities on pedestals, so when celebrities make a mistake, even a small one, it can become a huge ordeal. Often, a simple mishap can be a career downfall. It’s even more critical when a celebrity represents a company. For NBC, Brian Williams was the face of NBC Nightly News. Therefore, the public may have trouble trusting NBC’s news sources. After one week of suspension, NBC Nightly Newsexperienced a drop in viewership by 700,000 viewers. While the true meaning for this drop may include other issues such as fewer noteworthy news topics, it is likely that the viewership may remain lower for some time. Time will tell by how much. People get attached to celebrities, just as they do doctors or other professionals in their lives. Therefore, when they have to adjust to a new professional, it is sometimes hard. In this case, viewers may find that they don’t like the delivery style of Williams’ replacement. This will cause them to look elsewhere until they find one they like.
The public places celebrities at a much higher standard than an ordinary person. If an ordinary person were to make the same mistake Williams did, it wouldn’t be such a nationwide announcement. In the Williams’ situation, not only does the company suffer, but Williams will likely have a hard time in the future to gain the following he had up to this point. If he does not return to NBC, his career options are not near as abundant as they were before this incident. Companies will be hesitant to hire him since he is a public figure. He is too popular and well-known for people to forget this mishap. He is also fodder for comedians, social media attacks, and much more. Further, his popularity makes his mistake seep into other areas of his life, including personal aspects. Recently, his daughter announced the postponement of her wedding date due to the high publicity. Also, Williams resigned from the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation Board of Directors. In addition, the incident will cost him lawyer fees to defend his career.
Overall, Williams’ value declines significantly in light of his public misrepresentation of a serious news story.