The Trials And Tribulations Of Being An Outspoken Celebrity Brand

CANNES, France – A lot of celebrity brand marketers talk about authenticity, but the married couple team of John Legend and Chrissy Teigen embody it, even when their political and social outspokenness gets them in hot water with both consumers and retail distributors.

“Obviously, there are so many different issues that can happen when you are entirely responsible and your name is on the company,” Teigen said during an interview the couple had here this morning with Vox Media's Kara Swisher.

“And of course, being so outspoken politically is really difficult,” she explained, referring to her strong public positions on politically controversial subjects like abortion, bodily rights, mass incarceration, not to mention a high-profile social media feud with a certain presidential candidate.

Teigen, who created and owns the retail food brand Cravings, the pet food brand Kismet Pets, among others, cited the pressure grocery stores experience when she speaks out politically.

“With salad dressing, Paul Newman’s not going to get into trouble anymore, but if [grocery stores have] been saturated with phone calls for political reasons, because I spoke up about something whether it was abortion or reproductive healthcare or standing up for women’s rights or it could be anything, and then these grocery stores that are not used to getting any kind of negativity, they feel the tiniest bit, which I get all day – anyone in the public eye, gets so much all day so we’re so used to it – but all of a sudden this grocery store is getting maybe 10 or 15 comments that I post, where they typically get one or two that are all negative about the person they’re carrying, it puts a lot of fear in them.”

As much empathy as Teigen might feel for the retail grocery store chains that carry her brands, she says she never backs away from her political positions, noting, “I always appreciated people who stood up for something.”

She cited musical performers such as Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift who have been standing up for what they believe in politically, despite backlash from some fans.

Similarly, Legend, who considers his music is primary business, but also has his own consumer brands and collaborates with Teigen, says that being political outspoken is an extension of his personal brand and part of what makes him and his wife “authentic” to consumers and fans.

“I’m lucky though, with my company, honestly, they appreciate an outspoken person,” Teigen explained, noting, “That’s why they started frollowing me from the beginning. They know what they got into by having any kind of relationship with me. And honestly, the times that I’ve been quiet, I’ve felt the most separated from them.”

To illustrate how authentic they are individually, Teigen shared that she wasn’t even sure what social media legend is expressing himself on these days, and had to ask him, “Are you on X still?”

“No,” Legend responded.

“Okay, Threads,” she queried? “I had no idea you were even on it?”

“Well, no one has any idea,” Legend replied, implying Meta’s decentralized social network isn’t exactly generating mass awareness yet.

Teigen, who says she only uses Instagram these days, like her husband, has given up on X, and shared that her personal therapist has described her past social media usage as “almost euphoric” and that she’s still “chasing that high and euphoria that she felt,” but that Instagram simply makes her feel good. TikTok, not so much.

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