Brand extension is a risky business. For all the celebrities and TV personalities who have successfully launched lifestyle and fashion brands-- Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, the Kardashians--many more have failed to spin their names into business enterprises.
Health and wellness is a particularly rich market for celebrity brands right now, which may explain why Gwyneth Paltrow has continued to build out her Goop lifestyle brand.
Tracy Anderson, fitness guru to the stars and a celebrity in her own right (Paltrow was one of her earliest clients and, now, her business partner), is the latest to attempt to grow her brand beyond her cult “Tracy Anderson Method” into the larger health and wellness sphere.
Credited for sculpting Paltrow’s pert posterior and Madonna’s sinewy arms, Anderson has parlayed her fitness regime into an exercise empire with seven studios and hundreds of thousands of devotees who swear by her workout DVDs and live-streamed classes on her website.
But to hear Anderson tell it on her new SiriusXM radio show, she is “mostly just a five-foot-tall, 42-year-old mother of two who is really interested and passionate about health and wellbeing--not just physcal health and wellbeing, but spiritual and emotional wellness too.”
Just as Paltrow introduced her Goop brand to the conference industry (she hosted her first-ever “In Goop Health” wellness summit two weeks ago outside Los Angeles), Anderson has launched a new platform for brand growth with a weekly, one-hour radio show that debuted on June 19.
It’s the mass-market-friendly answer to “In Goop Health:” while Paltrow gathered all of her Goop-contributing “experts” under one roof during her summit for a luxury, interactive experience, Anderson interviews “influencers”on her SiriusXM show and invites listeners to call in with questions and stories.
After starting her exercise program in smalltown Indiana where she’s from, Anderson went on to amass an endless list of diehard celebrity clients in Los Angeles (Jennifer Lopez, Stella McCartney, Donna Karan, Christy Turlington, Courteney Cox, Naomi Campbell, and Lena Dunham, among others).
Anderson's career took off when Madonna and Paltrow began raving about her. Her relationship with Madonna soured after she toured with the singer, but she’s managed to remain close with Paltrow.
Indeed, Anderson’s first guest on the debut episode of her radio show is none other than Paltrow’s "Conscious Uncoupling" expert, Dr. Habib Sadeghi.
Anderson credits Sadeghi for helping her navigate her second divorce (“I was under so much emotional stress...I couldn’t even swallow food”) in a gushing introduction, which Sadeghi reciprocates with a fawning soliloquy about how much he admires Anderson’s commitment to empowering women through her fitness regime and communicating with them from “a place of humility and compassion.”
They go back and forth like this for several minutes, before Sadeghi--prompted by Anderson--goes off on a semi-intelligible tangent about how he came to learn that “healing is a complex process.”
What follows is a disjointed hour of overpraise and opportunities for Anderson to plug her brand and name-drop celebrity followers and famous friends (Dunham and Paltrow, who gets several mentions) while chatting with “influencer” guests, including Victoria’s Secret model and fashion designer Alessandra Ambrosio.
Ambrosio explains how she got hooked on the Tracy Anderson Method (“I’m Brazilian so all I want to do is work on my booty”); the importance of finding time to exercise as a working mother (“as a model I need to be in top shape always”); and the inspiration for her fashion brand (her Brazilian godmother was a seamstress).
Anderson is a radio host in the vein of Delilah, dispensing advice and ooey-gooey platitudes, except the language and subject matter is mostly New Age nonsense. Anderson is also an amateur: far from being a skilled conversationalist, her interviews are punctuated by awkward silences and nervous giggles.
There’s plenty of room for improvement, of course, but radio is a bizarre platform for growing the Tracy Anderson brand. Anderson is hardly compelling as a mind-body fitness guru when we can’t see her impossibly toned body.