When I heard Kate Gosselin was going to be on the upcoming season of “Dancing with the Stars”, the first thought that came to mind was, “overexposed much?” Kate rocketed from frumpy housewife and mother of eight to reality TV darling in a few short years. Her very public marital problems and subsequent divorce were splashed across tabloids all over the country. In late 2009, after publishing two books, appearing in a weekly reality show and a very public relationship, America spoke: they had had enough. Kate and her husband Jon were voted the most overexposed couple of 2009 by numerous publications, blogs and television media.
Apparently, Kate didn’t get the memo. She continued constantly appearing in the tabloids, on talk shows and even shooting a talk show pilot with Paula Deen (which allegedly wasn’t picked up because Kate was too controversial). She lobbied hard for the spot on “Dancing with the Stars,” and I think every publicist’s heart sank a bit when she appeared on the show’s line up. It was like the moment was calling out for a SNL Weekend Update “Really” segment…I mean really?…really?!!
Despite what your personal opinions might be about Ms. Gosselin, it’s undeniable that her long-term career prospects will be irreparably impacted as a result of her current overexposure. And she still doesn’t seem to be letting up. Gracing the covers of US Weekly and People Magazine again this past week, with another book due out in April, Gosselin is holding on for dear life to her celebrity. No one can blame her, really; she does have eight kids to support. The onus falls to her publicity and management team to tell her when enough is enough.
This is an example of when managing your client is crucial. As publicists, we are sometimes in the unfortunate position of having to be the only person to tell a client like it is. We are charged with not just promoting them to the public, but protecting them from the media as well. Those of us in the PR profession often share similar personality traits: we want to please our client and will jump through hoops at their request. But the sign of a good publicist is the one that will push back when necessary, and say, “even though this isn’t what you want to hear, it’s my job to tell it to you.” When a client is at risk for overexposure, it falls to you to tell them. Explain to them the long term ramifications and find a better strategy. You have to know when to say when.