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Miley Cyrus

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Cynthia Luong

on 20 September 2013

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Transcript of Miley Cyrus

The Role
of PR

"All press is good press" - Miley Cyrus
Following the VMAs, Us Weekly reported that an apparent ‘insider’ had noted that ‘Miley’s team’ were ‘freaking out’ as they were unaware that her performance would go down the way it did.

Larry Rudolph
, Miley Cyrus’ manager (and former manager of Britney Spears), spoke to a number of magazines about the direction in which they wanted her performance and her image to take:
‘we achieved everything we wanted’
‘it was a huge success’
As a professional in the industry, Rudolph offers a perspective that audiences may identify with or understand more clearly. Positions the performance as a public display of her transformation from Disney child star to 'sex symbol'

Miley's VMA performance came at an opportune moment. It ensured that she was at the forefront of the media in the following weeks. Note that:
3 days after the controversial performance, a new track called 'Twerk' by Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Lil Twist was 'leaked' to the public
A couple weeks later, Cyrus' provocative new music video, 'Wrecking Ball' was released, garnering a record number of views on YouTube within a few days
Her album is set to drop in October
Also in October, an MTV documentary about Cyrus' life and time on the road is set to air
Coincidence? I think not!
Whereas a large fraction of the media output about Cyrus' VMA performance was pejorative and condemning, MTV has been
consistently favourable
in their coverage of the event.
Possibly due to the fact that 1) the VMAs were aired on their network and 2) they own the rights to Cyrus' upcoming documentary.
Cyrus' first interview following the performance was an 'exclusive' to MTV
Suggests that Cyrus' PR team are working closely with MTV to generate positive publicity and promote her music
Viewership for the VMAs increased considerably, likely due to the multitude of discussions throughout social media (i.e. Twitter)

...the twerk-happy singer grabbed the spotlight like a seasoned veteran...

- www.mtv.com

Miley, who earlier pleased her smilers by revealing the pink neon and '80s–inspired cover to her upcoming Bangerz album...
” - www.mtv.com
Miley got some love from one of her new hip-hop peers as well, with rapper Trinidad Jame$ tweeting, "Miley is turnt! My [n---a.]"
- www.mtv.com
In response, Rudolph did an interview with the same magazine and spoke of the huge success of the performance and how the transition reflected the evolved sound of her new album.
Both traditional and online publications followed suit. Huffington Post is the most notable as a number of opinion pieces started to position Cyrus favourably. Publicity rose as new stories began to compare Miley's transformation to that of Britney Spears (Rudolph's former client)
"First it was …Baby One More Time, then the Oops! … I Did It Again album, all super bubblegum pop records. Third album, she wanted to make edgier music...
same thing with Miley
. What you see now, this is her. Some artists have it, some don't have it, in terms of the ability to make that transition." -
Larry Rudolph, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter

Major impact on social media, news, radio, blogs and all sorts of other medium
Extreme amount of publicity for Cyrus
Media have 'milked' the story (e.g. the day after, the Kyle & Jackie O show had Clive Palmer twerking on air as a response to the hype Cyrus' performance created)

Centralised around her trying to break free of her
Disney Hannah Montana
Involved using her body in a sexually provocative manner
Was pushed to the other end of the spectrum - revamping herself into the complete opposite of what was previously known
The effect on impressionable young audiences
Anna Wintour
, editor of Vogue, vetoed Cyrus from appearing on the cover of the December issue after her shocking performance
At first, various publics were in total shock of the controversial performance
Huge social media reaction
As soon as newsworthiness died down, she released her 'Wrecking Ball' video clip, maintaining her relevance in the media
'Wrecking Ball' broke the record of most views across Vevo - 19.3 million in 24 hours
'Can't Be Tamed' was a similar attempt at breaking out of her Disney image
Would not have hit close to home for many people. The shock value of Cyrus' performance is what makes it newsworthy
High prominence due to Miley Cyrus' celebrity status
Seen as a role model by the majority of her fanbase: young girls and early teenagers
Raises issues of: corruption of childhood innocence and sexuality of children
High controversy raised amongst parents
"Miley Cyrus made multiple sexual gestures and was just purely disgusting. It was hard for me to watch at 29. I cannot believe this was rated for kids 14 and up!" -
Viewer from Florida (The Hollywood Reporter)
With the release of her new album 'Bangerz' on October 4th, it is important that Cyrus stays relevant
A wider public now await her next controversial stunt
Unfortunate reality - sex sells. Any publicity is good publicity.

“We knew what we were getting ourselves into,” said Thicke. “We’re entertainers, and the VMAs is the perfect place for a little shock and awe. Yeah, we kind of knew when we were in rehearsal and we were like, ‘OK, if you touch me with your foam finger all over my crotch, obviously a few people are going to have something to say about this.’" He continued: "But that was the whole point. I mean the whole point was to excite and provoke and entertain”
- www.gigwise.com
Human Interest
Evoked shock and later on, humour
Initial news items focused on the 'horrid thing' Cyrus had done
As memes started to be created, publics started to joke about the event, solidifying its place in the news as a means of entertainment
Drastic consequences of the stunt: relationship with Liam Hemsworth jeopardized
Career was also at risk (as per the Vogue incident)
The Bizarre or Unusual
Fulfils the criteria as it contradicted views that publics held of Cyrus
Also, nothing screams 'bizarre' like entering the stage from a giant teddy bear, ripping your clothes off before proceeding to touch yourself with a giant foam finger...
Sunday August 25th
Miley Cyrus performed at the VMAs

Initial media reactions were ones of shock and negativity

Social media
response was rapid
Monday, 26 August
New York Daily News reports celebrity Brooke Sheild's reaction of, "Why is this necessary?...Our children can't watch that".
Cites outrage from the Parents Television Council
The Variety of Communication Strategies
Stories that we see shifted through our communications landscape are approached in a variety of mediums, voices and opinions. Radio broadcasters, news presenters and gossip columns are no longer the stronghold of celebrity news. Social media sharing platforms, blogs and online forums now have considerable influence on how a story is shaped, consumed and disseminated
On the same day...
The Mirror posted online a scathing review, pronouncing the performance '
Tuesday, 27 August
Articles came out in
of the issue
Presented other sides to the argument
Opinion leaders such as Maurice Mcleod from The Guardian spoke for the twerking star, warning that criticism would only lead to further cultural rifts
What can we take from this?
Variety of communication strategies
Traditional media outlets are now competing with social media platforms
Miley’s twerking was newsworthy to the extreme – although the sustained media attention is intriguing
Originally negative and reactions based on shock appeal
Some media supported the performance, others took an ambivalent perspective.

Media Reaction
Viewers (including celebrities) turned to social media to voice their opinions
Reported by Forbes on 30 August that Cyrus experienced a 112% rise in activity over the week with 226, 273 new Facebook fans and 213, 104 new Twitter followers

Memes shared on Tumblr and Facebook
Result? 'Wrecking Ball' ranked no. 2 on the iTunes charts along with 'We Can't Stop' at no. 5
‘Miley Cyrus and the issues of slut-shaming and racial condescension’
MTV not the only news outlet that has defended the performance
Several days after, a debate on feminism and racism broke out regarding the performance
“By implying that Cyrus is somehow creating a minstrel act of sorts by including black dancers in her act, you are implying that there is something lesser than about such an act. As if it’s completely impossible that she simply enjoys and respects the talents of those she chooses to work with. In short, it is inherently racist to imply that there is anything wrong with anyone other than black women twerking” -
Clinton Yates, The Washington Post
The performance is just simply a matter of Miley "being herself"
3 September
On the 3rd September, MTV released an ‘exclusive’ interview with Miley Cyrus in defence of the controversial performance at the VMAs.

We should question whether or not this is a collaborative effort between MTV and Miley Cyrus’ PR team.
Buckland, L., 2013, Bare bums, spurned lovers, foam fingers and scary grins, top five moments of VMA Awards, Mirror, viewed 16 September 2013, <http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/mtv-vma-awards-bare-bums-2224361>.

Diary, M.O.S. 2013, 'Miley Cyrus' Vogue cover cancelled by Anna Wintour following controversial VMA performance', The Daily Mail, 8 September, viewed 16 September 2013 <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2415168/MOS-Diary-Miley-Cyruss-Vogue-cover-CANCELLED-Anna-Wintour-following-VMA-performance.html>.

Kyle and Jackie O 2013, ‘Clive Palmer & Kyle Twerk’, 2Day FM, 27 August, viewed 16 September 2013, <http://www.2dayfm.com.au/shows/kyleandjackieo/video/clive-palmer-kyle-twerk/>.

McLeoud, M., 2013, Miley Cyrus twerking? It’s just not working, Newspaper Article –online version, The Guardian, viewed 16 September 2013.

MileyCyrus 2013, ‘Smilers! My VMA performance had 306.000 tweets per minute. That’s more than the black or Superbowl! #fact.’ 27 August, Twitter post, viewed 18 August 2013, <https://twitter.com/MileyCyrus/status/372090514142949376>.

Monde, C., 2013, VMAs 2013: Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke performance draws negative reactions from fellow celebrities, The Daily News, viewed 16 September 2013.

Montgomery, J. 2013, ‘Exclusive: Miley Cyrus Breaks Silence Over VMA Performance’, MTV, 3 September, viewed 17th September 2013, <http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1713414/miley-cyrus-vma-performance-interview.jhtml>.

News Limited Network 2013, ‘Vogue boss Anna Wintour dumps Miley Cyrus from magazine cover’, News.com.au, 8 September, viewed 16 September 2013, <http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/celebrity/vogue-boss-anna-wintour-dumps-miley-cyrus-from-magazine-cover/story-e6frfmqi-1226714839296>.

Nordyke, K. 2013, 'FCC flooded with complaints over Miley Cyrus' Racy VMA performance', The Hollywood Reporter, 15 September, viewed 18th September, <http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/miley-cyrus-twerking-vma-performance-629645>.

O’Malley Greenburg, Z. 2013, ‘Miley Cyrus: Biggest Winner At VMAs, Despite Lack of Awards’, Forbes, 27 August, viewed 17th September 2013, <http://www.forbes.com/sites/zackomalleygreenburg/2013/08/27/miley-cyrus-biggest-winner-at-vmas-despite-lack-of-awards/>.

Ravitz, J. 2013, 'Miley Cyrus' team "freaking out," Robin Thicke "bummed" after VMAs', Us Magazine.
Schillaci, S. 2013, 'Miley Cyrus' evolution is 'organic' and 'healthy,' says manager Larry Rudolph', The Hollywood Reporter, 26 August, viewed 16 September 2013, <http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/miley-cyrus-team-freaking-out-robin-thicke-bummed-after-vmas-2013268>.

Trendell, A. 2013, 'Robin Thicke: 'VMA performance with Miley Cyrus intended to shock'', gigwise, 16 September, viewed 18th September 2013, <http://www.gigwise.com/news/84198/robin-thicke-vma-performance-with-miley-cyrus-intended-to-shock>.

Yates, C. 2013, ‘Miley Cyrus and the issues of slut-shaming and racial condescension’, The Washington Post, 27 August, viewed 17th September 2013, <http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/miley-cyrus-and-the-issues-of-slut-shaming-and-racial-condescension/2013/08/26/f3aee436-0e68-11e3-bdf6-e4fc677d94a1_story.html>.
By: Robyn Kirby, Billie Luscombe, Emily Brex, Lisa Van, Sharlene Han, Cynthia Luong
Full transcript