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The Bran(d)gelina Effect

Growing up in Las Vegas, “the entertainment capital of the world” and having frequently made the four-hour jaunt up the road to the City of Angels, the home of Hollywood, I have a love/hate relationship with the world of glitz and glam.  That love/hate is particularly strong with the latter – all things Hollywood. From the sheer ingenuity and creativity that is produced from its world, to the absurdity of the lifestyle in tinseltown that runs rampant (not to mention the insanity of the Paparazzi . . . but that’s another story), its a world that I love and hate. . . with a passion.

A wild eyed, intriguing and preposterous creature that Hollywood is.

One corner of this world though, I’m drawn to, find intriguing, and I’m genuinely interested in. 


When I think about both Brad and Angelina, I think about how they communicate who they are to the world and why brands should take note. 

  • A brand should be thought provoking - Watch Twelve Monkeys, Fight Club, Babel and the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. There’s enough thought provoking conversations in those movies for days.
  • Brands should be seductive – As Lee Clow says, “every brand touch point needs to be treated as if it were an opportunity to seduce an audience” and Brangelina are (easily) in the top 10 list of the most seductive people in the world.
  • A Brand should have substance – Having served in the Peace Corps for 2 ½ years and worked and traveled in developing countries in southern and east Africa, I know that Angelina Jolie isn’t a UN Ambassador because she’s trying to be a rock star. There’s a genuine compassion on her part, for people living in unstable communities across the world.
  • Brands should leverage the power of storytelling – who tells stories better than the actors and directors of Hollywood?
  • Brands and Design should have much more intimate conversations with each other.  Charlie Rose asked Brad Pitt in an interview a few years back that if he wasn’t an actor what would he be and Brad's response,  “I’d be an architect." This isn’t just lip service. For some time now he’s been working with the avant-garde architecture firm Graft out of Berlin. Stepping into the world of design can change and transform the way you interpret the world.
  • Brands should have a healthy disregard for the status quo and should look to not play by the rules. This is the role of rebels, and Angelina is the female rebel of Hollywood.
  • Brands should provide value – Value is something that matters. In many ways it would be difficult to say that these two did not matter to one another. They are providing that support to each other and to their children. It’s A small community of 8 (but a community nonetheless) and they matter to one another. The question you should never stop asking is "how does your brand matter and to who?"

Now whether by design or by default the Bran(d)gelina effect results in sexiness, substance, power (star power that is), appeal, purpose and viability. Now say what you want . . .any brand would kill to have all of the above – in the same time and space.

So now you just might want to go and get your Bran(d)gelina on folks. . .go and get your Bran(d)gelina on. . .

Reader Comments (7)

Right on! Too many points in this resonate with me, so I'll just touch a few.

1) CURIOSITY/ SEEKING-- I totally agree that what makes Bran(d)gelina hot & sexy (and compatible) is that they are both SEEKERS….Brad with his interest in architecture (I caught that interview on CR a while back too), and Angelina with her UN stuff (which then got Brad even more involved in humanitarian efforts overseas and at home/ with Katrina victims…. Angelina’s interest in FLYING…(she learned to fly her own plane a Cirrus SR22 ---which then made Brad so interested HE’s taking flying lessons). Sorry to “tabloid” up your space here, but I totally think that (the need to expand as a human being) was the defining factor in the Brad/Jenn split and Brad/Angelina union vs. the usual “she’s just hotter” line. I think part of what makes Angelina hotter (to Brad, especially) is that she pushes him into a much BIGGER, more expansive life and he was thirsty for that.

2) USING YOUR “FLAWS” --- what I LOVE about Angelina (and, to be honest, I’m not such a fan of her acting skills), is the sense that she totally USES her weaknesses. She’s transformed them, channeled her pain (she used to be a “cutter” as a teen/young adult) into her work with the UN, her desperate need for family. I kind of cringe when I hear people bash her for “collecting” kids….I understand the criticism, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a BAD thing that she has this obsessive need to love (probably brought on by a need to heal herself of feeling unloved as a child). I don’t think it matters much in the end where it all began, if she has this big, beautiful family that DOES feel adored. We ALL have issues. I think it’s a matter of channeling them in productive (ex. Create art, create family, volunteerism) vs. unproductive (suicide, drug/alcohol abuse, controlling others, negativism) behaviors. She took her pain, matched it up with a man who has a compatible set of “issues”. Everything is very balanced with them b/c you have Angelina, the “dangerous” girl (who needs the grounding/level-headedness to keep her thrill-seeking from being destructive). And you have Brad, the dude from “Vanilla-ville” who has this stable, family background…but is in desperate want of adventure and someone to push him out of his comfort zones..and say, “come, jump of a plane with me”, “come raise kids of totally different cultures and so you’re going to have to find out what it means not to be ’white’ in order to raise them properly.” “come learn how to put “Carol’s Daughter” products in your little girl’s hair.” I think he eats that sh*t UP!! You have Angelina, who has the desperate need of all these children around her to love b/c of the trauma of her father‘s abandonment…and then you have Brad, Mr. Reliable, who comes up into what could be a chaotic mix and brings those practical, stable-family traits in there (which, I dare say, are mostly “learned” behaviors for which Angelina may not have had enough context, having not witnessed it growing up).

Okay, I totally digressed, but that’s testimony to the SEDUCTIVE power of the force that is Bran(D)gelina. Authencity, doing “YOU”, seeking, surrounding yourself with people who challenge you on some level. So many lessons in one little Hollywood/Non-Hollywood couple.
November 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlison Claire
p.s you MUST rent "Mr. & Mrs. Smith"...if just for the first 15-20 minutes and the "fight scene" later in the flick....hotter than a XXX any day. You can so feel the energy between the two of them....makes you want to close the door and give them some privacy (almost).
November 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlison Claire
wow. So, this is your most provocative and insightful blog to date.

Excellent. Again, Wow.
November 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterIbrahim
Thanks Ibrahim. I appreciate your kind words. Means alot coming from your very, very sharp mind!
November 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRasul Sha'ir
Hey Alison,

Your response was very thoughtful and full of insight. It seems that you've got your own analyzing of the duo going on. Very interesting to hear your perspective on them.Glad the piece was of interest to you.
November 10, 2009 | Registered CommenterRasul Sha'ir
Excellent post: and Shiloh's second name is Nouvel (after Jean Nouvel the famous French architect). How cool is that!!! :o)
PS: Shiloh is kiddo no.4 of the Brangelina brood.
December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMorgane
Thanks for the comment Morgane! That little bit of trivia on Shiloh. . .very cool indeed!
December 15, 2009 | Registered CommenterRasul Sha'ir

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