Tag Archives: “Shark Tank”

Daymond John Names Top Celebrity Self-Branding Success Story

Daymond John ABC photo

Branding expert Daymond John talks a lot about the success stories of branding when it comes to products and companies.  How about naming celebrities that do a great job of branding themselves?

“The Kardashians,” instantly replies the “Shark Tank” star.  “They automatically come to mind.  You’ve got to think about it – they actually are really not known for anything…”  So true!  “…and yet they’ve become America’s sweethearts, America’s ‘Brady Bunch’ of today.”  What a scary idea.

He continues, “Kim has become a fashion icon, a beauty icon.  They can brand family, they can brand Hollywood, they can brand beauty.  None of it has to be because they sing or dance or anything else.”  As John notes in his first book, “Display of Power: How FUBU Changed a World of Fashion, Branding and Lifestyle,” “We all have the same engine under the hood.  It’s just that some people understand how to tap into that power.”

Kim Kardashian

John is certainly tapping into his power in a major way.  He’s keeping up with the demands of his own FUBU business empire while on the road promoting his powerful new “The Brand Within” book – wherein readers learn how they, too, can make hay via branding.  He expects to stay just as busy traveling, speaking, meeting and appearing for the next couple of months.  He says he’ll know within six weeks what’s in store as far as the next season of his addictive ABC “Shark Tank” show, in which entrepreneurial wannabes and inventors endeavor to get John and his fellow sharks to invest in their wares.

Claws Out! Cavallari, Patridge Stir ‘The Hills’ Pot

Kristin Cavallari, Photo MTV

Kristin Cavallari, Photo MTV

If you thought “The Hills” was full of drama before, Kristin Cavallari tells us you ain’t see nothing yet!

The former “Laguna Beach” star has taken the place of Lauren Conrad on the MTV show, which returns for a new season Sept. 28, and she’s already stirring the pot.  “I didn’t really watch ‘The Hills’ before.  When I decided to do it, I watched like three episodes.  I just thought it needed a little bit more action.  It was kind of boring before,” claims Cavallari, who is on the bad side of cast member “I’m just trying to make it more fun and exciting.”

When asked how the cast felt about her coming on the show, Cavallari responds, “I think it took a little getting used to for everybody.  It obviously created a little bit of drama in the beginning and now I think everybody is pretty cool with it, except for maybe Audrina,” she notes.

“We don’t even see each other so it’s not like we’re fighting.  I’m indifferent when it comes to Audrina.”

So what could possibly make two girls break out the claws?  “Because of Justin Bobby.  Because of a boy,” she adds of the supposed “love triangle” with Cavallari and Audrina’s ex-boyfriend Justin Bobby.  “I can’t really tell what’s happening there.  People will have to wait and see.”

Two people she is excited to share the screen with are the show’s resident villains Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, who got married at the end of last season.  “I get along with them great.  I actually introduced them four years ago,” she reminds.  In fact, Cavallari has no problem with their shady reputation.  “I think it’s funny.  The thing is, you can’t really knock them because everyone is still talking about them so obviously they’re doing something right.  They love attention.  That’s what they want – they want people to talk about them.”

MONEY AND MORE MONEY:  Self-made billionaire Daymond John reports, “I’ve been very happy with the choices I’ve made so far” – as one of the title investors on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”  He points out, for example, that Tod Wilson’s sweet potato pie business from the first episode recently sold “4,000 pies in eight minutes on QVC — and it’s the worst possible time of the year for him.  His website used to get 90 hits a day.  Now it’s getting 6,500.  And business in his store has increased 1,000 per cent.  It shows the show is viable.”

Yes, and the fact that “Shark Tank” came back from almost tanking with a stunning 38 per cent ratings jump from its premiere to its second installment shows that, too.

“I’m a skeptical person, but the history of ‘Shark Tank’ and [its Japanese sister show] ‘Dragon’s Den’ speaks for itself.  This is 120 per cent authentic.  We are real, and this is purely our money.  I think that’s why the show started to pick up,” he stresses of the program, now airing on Monday nights, in which inventors, small business owners and other wanna-bes try to convince the panel of real-life entrepreneurs to give them funding.  “We don’t know anything about the contestants before we come in.  We’ll be told, ‘This is Catherine and John from Ohio and they have an interesting product.’  That’s all.  Some of these negotiations take an hour and a half,” he says.

John may be considered tough and even “snake like,” as one of his fellow entrepreneurs on the show put it, since he has a way of undercutting them at the last minute.  But he does have a soft spot for the contestants as well.  “I would have failed at that stage,” says the man who started his globally successful FUBU clothing line by sewing tie top hats himself on his mom’s sewing machine.  “Some I identify with because of their struggle, because they’re not prepared.  Then there are the ones who come so prepared I think, ‘My God, I don’t think I even know as much stuff as they know now.’”

THE MOTHERLY TYPE: With Warner Bros.’ “The Lottery Ticket” set for an October production start, they’re casting subsidiary roles in the feature that stars Ice Cube and Bow Wow – including that of Bow Wow’s character’s grandma, described as a matronly, “sanctified African American woman in her fifties.”  There are also an assortment of vicious, hardened criminal types to be cast in the story of an aspiring designer in the ghetto who finds he’s got the winning $370 million Lottery ticket – but has to wait through a weekend for the lottery office to open before he can be declared the winner.  Things get dramatic after word gets out about his ticket.

They’re also working on casting the mother – a Mercedes Ruehl or Lorraine Bracco type is what they have in mind — and grandmother of Barry Minkow – for the feature film that’s in the making about the convicted ZZZZ Best con man-turned-pastor who assists the FBI in anti-fraud cases.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Heidi Klum Saddened by Paparazzi Balloon Battle

Heidi Klum on

Heidi Klum is saddened by the recent confrontation between paparazzi who were swarming her and her young children in a New York City park – and other parents on the scene who took matters into their own hands and started pelting the offending photogs with water balloons.

“It sounds like fun when you read it maybe in a newspaper somewhere, but in reality it’s not so much fun when there are children involved,” she tells us.  “My children are screaming, ‘What’s going on?!”  I don’t think that people should start fighting over it.  I don’t want people to get hurt.  You don’t know how the paparazzi are going to react when they get hit with balloons and they start yelling back and forth.  I’m always worried that something might happen.”

The “Project Runway” hostess, who is expecting her and husband Seal’s fourth child in October, says she left the scene quickly.  “I’m like, ‘Let’s just go away.’

“It’s something that you just deal with, unfortunately,” she goes on.  “I wish there was some sort of a law that maybe they have to be at a certain distance, or there can’t be more than two…I wish there could be something done.  I know people say, ‘They’re celebrities, and why shouldn’t we get photos of them all the time?’  But people forget about the person being shot all day long and their children.”

MEANWHILE:  The super-achieving supermodel cum producer-TV personality-entrepreneur and her family will be heading off on a vacation next week.  She’s just  completed shooting of her latest season of “Project Runway,” and done a round of promotional chores trumpeting the intensely popular, Peabody Award-winning show’s return to the tube.  The airing of “Runway’s” sixth season, you may recall, was delayed nine months due to the legal wrangling over its move from Bravo to its new home on Lifetime.  Festivities begin Aug. 20 with a two-hour “Project Runway:  All Star Challenge” special featuring eight favorite contestants from past “Runway” seasons competing for a $100,000 prize, followed by the new season’s first episode.  And in addition to the regular “Project Runway,” there will now be a companion series called “Models of the Runway,” showing the action from the models’ points of view.

“I appreciate all the designers that came back for the challenge because once you’ve kind of done the show and gone on with your life, to come back and then maybe not be the winner again, for example, is not so good,” Heidi observes.  “Or maybe you’re the winner and then not the winner.  There are all these possibilities for how it might end up.  You don’t want the big L for loser on your forehead, again.”

Darryl M. Bell and Tempestt Bledsoe at BET Awards (Photo by Matt Slayes AP)

Darryl M. Bell and Tempestt Bledsoe at BET Awards (Photo by Matt Slayes AP)

MAN OF THE HOUSE:  “We’ve heard from a lot of people who have said that they had no idea we were even a couple,” says Darryl M. Bell, star of “A Different World,” who is the long-time partner of “The Cosby Show’sTempest Bledsoe.  The two have opened up their lives for Fox Reality Channel’s newest show “Househusbands of Hollywood,” which follows the lives of five men and their high-powered wives or in Bell’s case, girlfriend.  “Before now, we’ve never really spoken publicly about our relationship in the media, although we haven’t been hiding it,” he notes.  “As far as our pedigree in television, there’s a certain expectation of what people think they will see from us.  There’s nothing salacious.  It’s just a sweet and comical relationship on many levels and hopefully that’s what we convey.”

Despite the show’s premise of showing men who are stay at home dads while the women are the breadwinners, Bell’s situation is different.  “In our case, Tempestt and I are not married, nor do we have kids, and she’s not the breadwinner in our relationship.  We’re both working actors so in that sense our lives are a little different.”  However, Bell thinks those men’s storylines are very important for today’s society.  “With the epidemic of single parent families in this country and the absence of mentoring for young men, I think seeing men who are raising their children and made them priorities is important and that’s what you see in this show.”

When asked if he and Tempestt have any plans for marriage and a family of their own, Bell responds, “If I could predict the future that well, I’d be at the Powerball station right now.  I generally just try to talk about where we’re at today, and where we’re at today is happy and content, so we’ll see what the future brings.”

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW:  Infomercial king Kevin Harrington tells us that it’s the real deal on ABC’s Aug.        9-premiering “Shark Tank.”  In other words, he and his self-made millionaire fellow judges/potential investors on the show have actually been interested in some of the products and services contestants will be seen pitching to them.  “I have to be careful with confidentiality, I can’t disclose what projects I looked at and what are the specific deals I may have made,” he says.  “But I can say there definitely was some buying activity, some investing activity in the first rounds.”  That’s good to know, because there is clearly some funny business as well.

“If you watch the trailer, some of that is going on.  There are crazy, zany things none of us took too seriously,” says Harrington.  For instance, “a surgically implanted Blue Tooth device.”  Harrington notes that the contestant putting forth that idea told the judges (a.k.a. “sharks”) “You may be laughing now, but 10 years from now, it may be a reality.”  However, he points out that 10 years is too long to interest him.  “Some companies expect five-year waiting periods.  The pharmaceutical industry, for instance, builds time for clinical trials and FDA approval into their plans.  That’s not for me.  I’m in the business of taking a gadget and within 90 days to six months being able to bring it to market and start generating revenue.”

Harrington notes, “There are so many ideas out there, and to be honest with you,  if you look at a thousand, 950 of them are going to be very tough to bring to market.”

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster