Kim K's Virgin Mary Candle Is Brand Awareness Via Outrage
[Target Marketing's take: Below, one of our sister publications takes a look at how Kim Kardashian West "ignites controversy" with a Virgin Mary candle that many Catholics despise and call blasphemous. To us, this seems like a major brand awareness campaign. That may not sound like it makes sense, as Kim K. is angering many people. But in the school of "any publicity is good publicity," which brands like Urban Outfitters, Zara and Nordstrom may have graduated from recently with their controversial products, Kim K. is taking it to the highest level. And in doing so, the reality TV star who is recently known for a sex tape and being cellulite-shamed is reaching a new audience of consumers who pay attention to religious outrage. It's the ultimate bad PR brand awareness campaign.]
Promo Marketing: Not one to let her husband, bestselling rapper Kanye West, claim all the attention due to controversial decisions, Kim Kardashian is proving she can likewise use religious imagery to spark debate. On April 20, the reality television personality used her kimoji.com website to publicize ‘Weed Day,’ with one merchandise item, the Kim Candle, drawing fiery reactions from visitors and other figures because it replaces an image of the Virgin Mary with Kardashian's face.
Glorifying marijuana, "Weed Day," celebrated April 19, found the 36-year-old announcing the availability of 18 products, with seven having sold out. While some offerings are easy to laugh off, such as the fire weed sock and the “Sorry I Was High” embroidered T-shirt, the candle has not made consumers and practitioners of Roman Catholicism eager to absolve her of bad taste, particularly since the $18 controversy-causer presents an alteration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary devotion dear to many believers.
Given her unwavering coveting of the limelight, the socialite has not exactly registered as a wholesome role model for everyone. Her three-year marriage to West, for example, has led many to dub them as little more than fame-seekers. The singer has also found himself persecuted for using religious symbolism to serve his capitalist cravings, including a famous 2006 Rolling Stone cover that featured him donning a crown of thorns akin to the one that Jesus wore as an element of his crucifixion.
In February, West, whose 2013 album “Yeezus” includes the track “I Am a God,” became the subject of the False Idol sculpture by Los Angeles-based street artist Plastic Jesus. The gold handiwork likens the 39-year-old to the individual whom Christians consider the son of God and the savior of the world by having West suffer from nail wounds in his hands and bear a thorny crown. Fast forward two months, and his bride is now testing the patience of those blessed with more reverence for the depiction of Mary.
Along with the candle incident, April 20 also saw Kardashian give members of the public a few more frustrations worthy of a trip to a confessional by taking to Los Angeles’ Little Next Door Restaurant in a black mini dress featuring a bedazzled depiction of the Virgin Mary. The Catholic League has chided her for the second decision, but, since Kardashian usually seems to soak up backlash and escape unscathed, these latest missteps are not likely to send her to marketing purgatory, let alone cause eternal damnation for her brand or public persona.