What Lady Gaga’s Poker Face Can Teach Us About Creativity And Marketing
How do you feel about Lady Gaga? Me? Eh. Her songs are good for exercising to, like most music put out by gay icons. But they aren’t fantastic, they have a good beat and if I weren’t tone deaf perhaps I could weigh in on whether or not she has a good voice, although those kinds of niceties don’t really seem to matter all that much these days, what with the magic that can be done behind-the-scenes.
But we all know Lady Gaga, right? Mostly because of her crazy fashion antics and her outlandish stunts. She’s become part of the popular imagination by going to the MTV Music Video awards, wearing six different outfits, each crazier than the next, and splattering blood all over herself, hanging from a noose, on stage. And shortly thereafter, her tour with Kanye West was canceled presumably in part because of Kanye’s stupid “Imma let you finish” move on that same awards show.
Why do we know Lady Gaga again? Is it the Madonna attention whore thing again? Yes, but with a twist. (Continued on next page).
I started thinking about Lady Gaga and how her fashion is super crazy, but it’s crazy in an extra peculiar way. It’s not just making a statement, it’s serving some kind of purpose for her. And I could not figure out what htis purpose was, other than the attention-getting, which is hardly a new thing for Lady Gaga. Until I started to notice a pattern between all of her costume changes. When you see Lady Gaga out during the day, she is always wearing sunglasses. This on its own is not strange.
When you see Lady Gaga on stage or at an awards show, her outlandish outfit is always accented by sunglasses as well, or another device of some kind to hide either her eyes or her entire face. She became famous for singing a song that said, “You can’t read my poker face.” But of course we cannot read your poker face, Lady Gaga — you never let us see it. Why would somebody do this? I think Madonna was wondering the same thing, which is why when they appeared on Saturday Night Live together, Madonna used a part of the skit to wrestle with Lady Gaga and take off her glasses. And then it happened.
We saw Lady Gaga’s Poker Face.
And I’ve seen faces that are less attractive, sure. But the thing with Lady Gaga’s eyes is not that they are so unattractive, but that they do not fit her image of super cool, enigmatic gay icon. They are kind of goofy eyes. They would be fine on somebody else, even a a character actress. They are kind of like a less pretty version of Susan Sarandon’s eyes. But they are not sexy and enigmatic, are they? I have to imagine that at some point she either figured this out herself of had somebody tell her, that she needed to figure out a way to make her look “pop,” and somebody, somewhere, said, “We’ve got to cover up those eyes!” and then the designers went crazy, because sometimes the best thing you can do to boost creativity is to put restraints on yourself. Some of the best products, some of the best writing, some of the best solutions to everyday problems come out of this dilemma. And they kept working, and Lady Gaga became known as the girl with the crazy outfits, instead of the girl with the crazy eyes.
Only another master marketer and media manipulator like Madonna could figure it out. Which is why she pulled off her glasses. Not because she had to expose her, though that was probably a nice side-effect. But because she wanted to know if she was right. And she was.
Smart women, those two — I’m going to keep my eye on them.
PS: You might also like this: Please, Lady Gaga, Call Off Your Goons