What George Michael needs to do now

Posted on September 22, 2010


Lots of brands have resurrected themselves after troubled times, so what does George Michael need to do if he wants future success?

First of all, lets look at his current situation as any good marketing plan should.

George Michael

Can I service your toilet?

Just take a look at the poor soul, he doesn’t look much like a pop star.  He looks more like a healthier (albeit not by much) Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi (the Lockerbie Bomber) and I can’t see that look working in the UK market.  He’d go down a bomb (bad turn of phrase) in Libya though.

Sometimes brands lose their way.  This happens for a lot of reasons, sometimes a brand’s success is what ultimately dooms it to a future in the toilet.  Metaphorically speaking of course, not literally apart from a few instances in the detergent sector and of course our focus here, Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou.  Incidentally I think ‘Panayiotou’ would make a great name for a toilet cleaner.


George’s current situation, he’s in jail, could have been predicted by Mystic Meg, it was plainly obvious he was on the slide.  But this doesn’t mean he can’t make a comeback, in fact it could well be the catalyst that propels his reinvigoration as a pop star.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths – George has got  a lot of things going for him.

  • He’s a global brand that’s known around the world for starters.
  • He’s not Andrew Ridgeley – I’ve just read his bio on Wikipedia and he sounds like he’s got a great life, here’s an excerpt:

Ridgeley now lives near Wadebridge, Cornwall, United Kingdom, in a restored 15th century farm property with his partner Keren Woodward[2] of the pop group Bananarama. The majority of his spare time is taken up by golf and he is a keen member of a local club where he plays off a handicap of 12; other interests include drinking real ale (he is a member of CAMRA).

  • He’s not sold out, not in the sense of he hasn’t sold out a venue in years, but as in he’s always done what he wants so he’s got the potential to be a cult figure.
  • He’s reinvented himself before now, a few times in fact.


  • He’s not sold out a venue in years.
  • He’s allegedly addicted to a lot of things, toilets, drugs, etc which are counterpoint to building a clean, paper-friendly, image.
  • He’s currently in jail.


  • He’s currently in the limelight and people are talking and writing about him.
  • He’s building a strong rebel image.


  • I expect these are numerous in jail.
  • He could just continue behaving as he has done and change nothing.

Okay that’s a bit of situational analysis, all good for understanding where we’re at.  To quote Nigel Tufnell, the fictional lead guitarist of Spinal Tap, we could sum up the current situation as follows: “It’s like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black.” Next up, Objectives.


Not really for me to say here, but let’s assume that George wants to make a comeback, what kind of objectives should he set?

  • Release an album in time for Christmas
  • Go on tour in 2011

Why not, if you’re not ambitious you might as well not bother.


Now we are getting to the meat of it.  It’s always tempting to go straight into strategy, but then the term “SOSTAC” which is a handy aid to remembering the constituents of a plan (Situation, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action, Control) would read “STAC” and that’s just wrong.

First of all he’s got to churn out a decent product, it could just be a remastering of his greatest hits, but I think he can use his time practically in the slammer writing some new material – why not, what else is he going to do, Sudoku?

Once you’ve got your product you’re going to have to promote the hell out of it.  How so you ask?  What is this, “Free consultancy for the masses?”, no it is not, but I will put forward some ideas, the generous soul that I am.

George could take a leaf out of Johnny Cash’s book and become the voice of the wrongdoer, he could imprint this credo on his brand by doing a couple of concerts from jails.   San Quentin and Folsom might have a more melodic ring to them than Bellmarsh and Parkhurst, but that said, this could be the start of something – actually he was in Pentonville, which does have quite a melodic pronounciation.  I can see the inmates relating to the likes of “Freedom” and “I want your sex”, on second thoughts, maybe not.


One thing I do think is that he needs to embrace his “rebel” image and come out (not again) fighting.  Tell the world, “Yes, I am a numpty, but I admit it and more to the point, I’m doing something about it.”  I don’t think doing an interview on The One Show is the right way to go, but he could do Later with Jools Holland, especially if it was on much later and he can let loose on a few things.

George has a history of duets.  So why not do some more, this time in stead of Elton John, go with 50 Cent – the famed gangsta rapper, evidence if it were needed that you don’t have to be “all there” to carry that off below:


"The bitch gonna be alright, I took her to the hospital" You couldn't make that up

Another tactic George could look at is giving away his album with a Sunday paper, Prince has done this a bit to bolster his touring.  I can’t see the Mail, Express or Telegraph going with it for obvious reasons and the red-tops have had a field day with him, so I guess that leaves him the Observer – which is probably a good association – as he likes to do a bit of that in toilets too. (allegedly!)


Well, he’d better get moving if he wants a number one by Christmas…


Some would say that if he’d only exercised a little of this in the first place we wouldn’t be needing to come up with marketing strategies to help him out of a hole.  When George, on following my plan, does re-emerge as a Pop Idol, he could do with controlling some of his habits a little better.  Failing that, he could at least get some new habits that will help his new image, maybe a bit of breaking and entering?

Posted in: Marketing