Article of Lady Gaga
Celebrated for both her outré style and musical prowess, the recording artist known as Lady Gaga is not only one of the world's biggest pop stars, but also one of the most recognized brands. She's garnered five Grammys, holds two spots in the 2011 Guinness Book of World Records including "Most Searched-For Female," as recorded by Google, and made international headlines for donning a dress made of red meat, which Time Magazine called the top fashion statement of 2010.
"Gaga is a marketing phenomenon"
So it's almost shocking to recall that in the autumn of 2008, Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in New York City, was merely a supporting act in a reunion tour of the erstwhile-boy band, New Kids on the Block.
"When you tell that to people now they look at you like you must have your dates mixed up," says Harvard Business School Associate Professor Anita Elberse. "That was just three years ago, and now she is, by many measures, the biggest celebrity on the planet. Gaga is a marketing phenomenon."
This fall, Elberse will teach a case on Lady Gaga's meteoric career in her popular second-year MBA course, Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries, which focuses entirely on the media and entertainment sector, and which includes sessions on basketball star LeBron James, online video aggregator Hulu, the NFL, and the Metropolitan Opera, among other cases. The first part of the new case, dubbed Lady Gaga(A), places students in the shoes of the pop star's manager, Troy Carter, who faced the daunting and sudden task of launching the performer's first major solo concert tour in 2009.
Elberse developed the case based on extensive interviews with Carter and several other executives who are part of team Gaga, including Interscope Geffen A&M Vice Chairman Steve Berman, Live Nation's global touring CEO Arthur Fogel, William Morris Endeavor agent Marc Geiger, and producer Vincent Herbert.
Go big or go home?
In the autumn of 2009, Lady Gaga was