Need a publicity boost? Have a baby!

Mariah Carey Life & Style cover

We got a very pregnant, very naked Mariah Carey on the cover of 'Life&Style'.

Mariah Carey’s twins are just a few days old and I’m already feeling mildly ill… Mostly because of the way she’s used her babies as one hell of a promotional tool.

Before the babies were even born we were simply swamped with Mariah and her who-the-heck-is-that-guy hubby Nick Cannon speaking to every newspaper and magazine they could find. We had stories about her cravings, stories about how tired she was, how lucky they were, her massive baby shower etcetera, etcetera, et-fucking-cetera. She showed off her baby bump and the twins’ nursery in a lavish magazine spread. And that is just the external publicity. After that is where my gag reflex kicks in. A lot.

If you head on over to Mariah’s official website and Twitter account (what? you mean you haven’t been there already?!) you’ll be bombarded with the usual buy-Mariah’s-perfume stuff. Which is okay. Then, there’s “dem babies” related-publicity. Now, I know that the Div[a]ine Miss M is hardly managing her own online profiles, but would have had to okay some of this stuff. What “stuff” am I talking about?

Well, the “Favourite Outfit contest”, of course! YOU can have a say in the first outfits the twins wear by taking a look at the gifts Mariah had received and then retweeting the options that YOU like best and telling the team YOUR thoughts!

Then, on Twitter…

Pregnant Mariah played a guessing game with her “lambily” (*gag*) over the sex of her twins before she announced it. She’s now doing the same with the names of her babies. Hint: They both start with M. (Answer: Monroe and Moroccan. You’re welcome).

All of these gimmicks provide fodder for the tabloids. And not just one story – “Mariah reveals baby names” – but a multitude. “Mariah teases baby names”, “Mariah gives another clue” and THEN finally, “Mariah reveals baby names”. By talking to everybody who will listen about her pregnancy and the birth of her twins, Mariah ensures a constant stream of publicity – generally of the soft and squishy variety – will stream in her direction. Smart. After all, what better way to fill the gap between albums?

We can now look forward to legions of magazine covers featuring Mariah, Nick and “dem babies” in various domestic poses. Aren’t you excited?

Right, so there’s blatant, so-out-there-it’s-crazy publicity, and then there’s the more subtle kind, a la Miranda Kerr – who’s tweeted photos of her breastfeeding Flynn, her son with Orlando Bloom.

Miranda Kerr

Miranda Kerr tweeted this photograph of her looking gorgeous while breastfeeding her baby.

She’s attempting to cultivate a “Look, I’m a working mom! I can model and raise a baby, all at the same time!” persona – and props to her. I know that Me + Baby + Career will most likely end in Total Disaster (at least at this point) so I’ll give her kudos for the balancing act. But since producing offspring with The Lord of the Rings star, Miranda’s public profile has shot up prolifically. And she obliges, by tweeting pics of herself and baby Flynn and sharing intimate details on her Twitter page. Her tweets make news, which in turn boosts her profile that little higher. Did you have any idea who Miranda was before she got pregnant?

HurricaneVanessa posted a pretty interesting opinion piece on the matter. And she had a most valid point when she wrote, “Make your private public, in the search for publicity, attention, affirmation, admiration (whatever motivates you when you press “send”) and pay the price in the absence of privacy, later”.

I’m not saying that stars should avoid the publicity entirely. One tastefully done magazine spread is a great way of keeping the fans happy and the paps off your back for a little while. Sandra Bullock and her adopted baby Louis graced a People cover, so did Brangelina and their twins. But these A-listers have worked their butts off to keep their tots as protected as possible. There’s a line, that unfortunately, some celebrities cross – and it’s not just Mariah and Miranda. (I’m looking at you, Kendra, and all of your baby-related publicity).

For the same stars who post millions of Twitpics of their little one in various cutesy poses complain bitterly when the paps follow them while they’re grocery shopping.

We haven’t had any children really grow up in this obsessive paparazzi culture and online celeb gossip – fuelled by the relentless flow of info from Twitter and Facebook – just yet. But when the tiny tots become teens and their mother’s actions mean they’re the subject of paparazzi focus (think of what the poor Jolie-Pitt brood will go through), I wonder if their parents will regret those fifteen magazine covers and twenty-seven “exclusive interviews”.

Just a thought.

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