Dickens said in Hard Times: ‘‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’’ The party lifestyle of Kate Moss came under scrutiny last month with revelations that she has been taking cocaine. While it might not have surprised many observers of a narcissistic and weight-obsessed fashion industry, it did, however, surprise her clients, who seemingly didn’t realise that celebrity notoriety often goes hand in hand with the rock ‘n’ roll culture of drugs and alcohol. But will it ultimately be her downfall? Her worth is estimated in tens of millions, many of her clients are still using her, and her picture – both in flattering profiles and not so flattering – has barely been out of the press since the news broke last month.
Tessa Hartman, managing director of publicist and communications specialists, TFF, believes Moss’s problems will not impact on celebrity endorsements. “The celebrity culture is ever-changing,” she says. “It’s up to brands and the agents they use to investigate skeletons in cupboards. Celebrities are very cost-effective.”
Hartman believes celebrities have to be careful. “Being a celebrity is like a business and like any business, regardless of your trade, you have to be careful about your brand,” she says.
Both Hartman and Doug Nolan, a copywriter with 1576, who created one of the campaigns on the right with art director Scott MacMichael, believe that while short term the scandal will impact on Moss, long term the brands will come back. “The brands had to drop her but it hasn’t actually done them harm,” says Hartman. “They’ve been seen to do the right thing.
“I don’t condone her behaviour at all, but she’s one of the world’s most successful models and when she returns and has re-evaluated her life, she’ll be back on the catwalk. Those brands will be back supporting her.”
Moss’s apology is the ideal way to re-market her to clients, believes Nolan. “It’s a waste of time denying things at this stage – that video is pretty cut (sorry) and dry,” he says. “So poor old Kate needs to apologise and distance herself from what she did, to regain favour with potential clients. Apparently she’s getting cleaned up somewhere now, so when she comes back, it’s time for some humble remorse.”
But Hartman warns that while Moss may recover, other ‘celebrities’ might not from such an incident. “If she manages her apology, then the world is her oyster because she has a talent,” she says. “With the celebrities like the Big Brother stars, if they were to slip up, I don’t think the public would be as forgiving.”