Rising Stars: When Public Relations Becomes Public Fatigue
Public Relations

Rising Stars: When Public Relations Becomes Public Fatigue

By D+P Interns

In most cases, the art of public relations is a highly effective tool for cultivating and preserving a positive public image for individuals, groups or organizations. However, is it possible to overplay PR efforts, to the point where they have a counterproductive effect?

To dissect this, we can consider the recent pop culture phenomenon that is Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift’s relationship. One might expect that media coverage of the union between arguably the United States’ most prominent pop star and a beloved Super Bowl champion (outside of Philadelphia), of course would enhance their public appeal. But the reality is that this season’s romance is predominantly benefiting Travis, the lesser-known figure of the two of them.

The influence of Taylor Swift’s devoted fan base, known as the “Swifties,” became evident after Taylor attended her first Chiefs’ game. Kelce’s merchandise sales skyrocketed by an impressive 400% after the Sunday’s game, and StubHub representatives noted a 3x increase in sales within a 24-hour window for Chiefs home games compared to the previous few days. In the realm of Instagram, Kelce gained a staggering 800,000 new followers.

On the other hand, while Taylor’s popularity was already at its peak, some individuals, particularly NFL fans, are beginning to experience a bit of Taylor fatigue, given her ubiquitous presence in the public eye. The perpetual focus that the camera has on Taylor during football games, the NFL’s almost excessive references to her on social media, the use of her music in commercials and the constant promotion of her upcoming film during breaks may actually be disadvantageous to her image. Even Taylor’s own fans are beginning to find it overwhelming, and those who already do not care about her and are just NFL fans trying to enjoy the game are developing more negative sentiments.

After her appearance at the Chiefs vs. Jets game on October 1, the phrase “Enough of Taylor Swift” became a trending topic on X. Even an advertisement for her new movie playing during a Giants game that she didn’t attend resulted in the crowd erupting with boos.

Does this negatively impact her success? Not at all. She is still currently at the pinnacle of her career, with her movie “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” surpassing $100 million in global pre-sales and breaking AMC’s records for the highest ticket sales revenue in a single day.

Nevertheless, it is evident that if this is a publicity move, she may not have won over the NFL fans’ hearts as one might have assumed. She should consider preserving an air of mystery around herself to maintain her fans’ engagement, rather than inundating them with a relentless stream of news about her.

All of this serves as an illustration of how excessive publicity doesn’t always yield the outstanding results that were originally intended. Regardless of who or what is in the spotlight, excessive exposure to anything can fatigue an audience to the point that they want to attempt to tune out any more messaging, and potential new audiences may be put off before they even give it a chance.

The objective is seldom to accumulate attention at any expense, even if it ultimately results in a negative image. Therefore, when it comes to garnering more positive attention and building a larger community, there is a point where public relations can become ‘too much.’

Rising Stars is a series of thoughts, reflections and perspectives by the interns at Devine + PartnersReilly O’Neill is a fall intern at Devine + Partners. She is a senior at Temple University, majoring in public relations with a concentration in international communication.

D+P Interns

D+P Interns