Jersey Shore: Big Muscles, Big Business
As America prepares for the second season of MTV's Jersey Shore, JWOWW, The Situation, and the rest of the well-bronzed crew are doing everything they can to cash in on their unlikely fame.
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The runaway hit reality show, which debuted in late 2009 and makes its return on Thursday, has become something of a pop culture phenomenon -- and the well-bronzed gang is looking to cash in as they travel south from Seaside Heights to Miami.
First, we have their "day jobs." The castmates (who rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange today) earned $5,000 per episode during the first season, $10,000 per episode for this upcoming season, and have reportedly negotiated $30,000 per episode for season three. Not a bad haul for throwing back shots and beating up the beat. In fact, one source of contention in recent contract negotiations was the fact that they now make thousands for appearance fees -- sometimes more than they were making on the actual show.
Now, just in time for some cross-promotion, two of the show's stars -- Jenni "JWOWW" Farley and Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino -- are embarking on new business ventures. Farley is hard at work on a clothing line and Sorrentino is branching out into clothes, workout DVDs, a book, and possibly a fragrance.
Observers say MTV struck gold with a marketable group of people whom viewers can laugh with and laugh at -- and the self-described guidos and guidettes have worked shrewdly to outlast their Warholic 15 minutes of fame. "It's a surprising case study, from a branding perspective," says Adam Pichirilo of Pichi Marketing. "The window of opportunity shuts very quickly. The cast was very smart to agree to terms and start pursuing side projects now before audiences get hooked on another show."
In the meantime, the Jersey Shore brand endures. "Teased hair, washboard abs, tattoos, hair gel, flying fists and philosophy of GTL [gym, tan, laundry] is all about being young, attractive and sexually desirable," says Adam Kluger of Adam Kluger Public Relations.
And so, at least for now, you can expect an inundation of Jersey Shore-inspired merchandise on store shelves and toned bodies near you.
This month marks the launch of Filthy Couture, a joint venture between Farley and her boyfriend/manager Tom Lippolis. And while the apparel leaves little to the imagination, Farley insists you don't need her ample decolletage to rock her Filthy duds.
"Even girls who don't have the JWOWWs can wear this," Farley says, referring to her line's low-cut dress with a built-in bra. T-shirts in her collection will sell for $60 to $100, while polyester-lace dresses will retail for $150 to $350, and the "more extreme handmade pieces" may top $1,000.
Farley has long made her own clothes, and she tells AOL's StyleList that many girls kept asking her where she got her jeans and shirts after the show debuted. She seized the opportunity to launch an apparel line, and says she is now working a skin-care line with her doctor, Stephen Greenberg, a bronzer and tan accelerator, and a purse collection.
But the real marketer-in-chief of Jersey Shore may be "The Situation." The show is "all about attitude and The Situation has that in abundance," Kluger says. After all, he is a self-proclaimed "quadruple threat."
Sorrentino teamed up with Miami designer Dilligaf by Bohica Bill to create -- what else? -- Dilligaf Couture by the Sitch. The line, which also debuts this month, features T-shirts, sweatshirts and accessories, priced from $39 to $79. Dilligaf is an acronym for "Do I Look Like I Give A F*ck," but the Sitch and Dilligaf are hoping consumers will indeed "gaf" about the line.
"Mike embodies our irreverent approach to life," Dilligaf president Jodi Massry said in a statement. "Anyone who watches knows that he is all about living life to the fullest and enjoying every day."
And as we all know, the G in "gym, tan, laundry" is an essential part of enjoying every day. To that end, The Sitch is launching a workout video so you, too, can develop your own "Situation." The SituationNation (his fan club) will enjoy "Situation'isms" throughout the video, which will include a bonus abs section. The video's release date has not been announced yet, although it is likely to hit store shelves during the upcoming season. In the meantime, you can give your abs a little love at New York Sports Club (and its Washington, Philadelphia and Boston affiliates), which boast a "Jersey Core Workout." (Don't forget to take your NoX pre-workout supplement, endorsed by The Sitch himself.)
But if you don't have time to shower after that ab-tastic workout, you can always douse yourself in Sitch, an aphrodisiac in a bottle. Rumors have swirled about The Situation releasing a cologne since January 2010, but a release date has not been announced.
Sorrentino is also working on lifestyle read, Here's The Situation -- deemed a guido's guide to everything, including tanning, vitamin supplements, style and sex, to be published by Gotham Books. This piece of literature comes on the heels of the JWOWW-Ronnie Ortiz-Magro joint effort, Never Fall In Love at the Jersey Shore.
Then there's Paul "DJ Pauly D" DelVecchio, who has become more entrepreneurial, although he's remained in the same line of work -- spinning turntables. The difference is, he's developed such a brand that he now commands a price tag up to $25,000 a gig. And while his hair-raising 'do isn't getting its own line of product just yet, his barber Anthony Gianfrancesco has experienced an influx of new clients who drive as long as 40 minutes to score Pauly's glossy locks.
As for the other castmates, their entrepreneurial acumen remains to be seen. Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi is staying busy maintaining her tan and Snookin' for love, and Vinny Guadagnino, 21, says he has his eyes set on law school. Perhaps he'll take care of the intellectual property for the various Jersey Shore ventures.
Kluger, however, has some doubts about the cast's ephemeral fame.
"A lot of the merchandise tied to the show, like GTL T-shirts, may be hot right now, but chances are they will end up on flea market tables a few years from now," he says, "along with Alf lunchboxes and Growing Up Gotti posters."
Check out the Jersey Shore cast on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, with "situational" commentary from DailyFinance's Dan Burrows and Jeff Bercovici: