I have been hearing and seeing news about the Kardashian family on the internet for ages. First, it was Kim Kardashian, who was mostly in the spotlight. Now, it is Kylie Jenner. However, I always wondered what made them so famous. I can understand why celebrities like Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Tom Cruise, and Robert Downey Jr are famous. However, what extraordinary thing did this family do to deserve this much fame? All I can say this most of the fame the family received is due to the hard work and planning of one person, Kris Jenner.
The Marriage to Robert Kardashian
It is the Kardashian-Jenner family that is mostly in the spotlight now. Robert Kardashian married Kristen Mary Houghton in 1978. Before marrying Robert, she came from a family of significant wealth. However, she never held a permanent job before. She worked as a flight attendant for American Airlines for a year in 1976. Robert was a prominent lawyer and later became a businessman. He was a co-founder for a trade publication called Radio & Records which was sold in 1979 for a substantial profit. Robert had friends from high social status. Through Robert, Kris met high profile friends as well. Her first daughter, Kourtney Kardashian was born in 1979. Kim Kardashian was born in 1980. This was followed by Khloé Kardashian in 1984 and Rob Kardashian in 1987. They divorced in 1991 because of Kris Kardashian’s affair with Todd Waterman.
The Marriage to Bruce Jenner
Just one month after the divorce to Robert Kardashian, Kris married retired Olympian Bruce Jenner in 1991. Kris changed the name to Kris Jenner. The marriage raised the profile of Kris. Bruce became the stepfather to Kourtney, Kim, Khloe & Rob. The couple had two daughters, Kendall Jenner born in 1995 and Kylie Jenner born 1997. Kris also took on a new job which is to be the manager of Bruce Jenners. Kris was able better negotiate endorsement deals, created a show for Bruce and arranged television appearances, in reality tv and game shows. She even helped launch a workout infomercial campaign to sell fitness products. This made the family extremely wealthy and raised the profile of Kris. This made Kris the best manager to have in the entertainment industry.
The Trial of O.J. Simpson
O.J. Simpson former American footballer turned actor allegedly murdered his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman on June 12, 1994. There was substantial evidence accusing O.J. Simpson. America was shocked to have one of America’s darlings, and it made national headlines. Especially made headline news around the world when he did not turn himself in and drove 1993 Ford Bronco in a low-speed pursuit along I-5 freeway. O.J. Simpson was a good friend of Robert Kardashian, and Nicole Brown Simpson was a good friend of Kris Jenner. O.J. Simpson was hiding in Robert Kardashian’s house to avoid media attention. When O.J. did not turn himself into the police, Robert read the note which seems like a suicide note from O.J. to the media. When O.J. was caught, Robert reactivated is the license to practice law and he took part in Simpson’s legal team as a volunteer assistant to defend his friend alongside leading defense attorneys Robert Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran. This made Robert ineligible to be compelled or subpoenaed to testify against Simpson. This team was dubbed as the “Dream Team” because it represented the best criminal defense lawyers at the time to prove that Simpson did not commit the murder even though there is a mountain of evidence against him. This whole fiasco made the Kardashian name known nationally and even worldwide. The entire trial was live broadcasted, and over 100 million people watched it. It was dubbed the trial of the century. This raised the profile of Kardashians and Kris Jenner who was a successful manager at the time.
While managing Bruce’s career, Kris started to focus on building the empire for the next generation of Kardashians. The Kardashians we wealth by then and Kids did not have to work. However, like all moms, they want their kids to have something for themselves and be independent. First, she focused on Kim Kardashian. Kim started her career in fashion as a fashion stylist to stars as the personal shopper of R&B singer Brady. Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton then hired her. Kim gained a lot of media attention while working for influential people and celebrities. Kim Kardashian got the first role starring in-front of the camera when she made a cameo in Beyond The Break. Kim also appeared in a few episodes of Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie’s The Simple Life. To capitalize on Kardashian’s growing popularity in fashion, Kim, Khloé & Kourtney entered into the business world by starting a clothing boutique named DASH. This is done with the help, support & planning of Kris Jenner.
The Kim Kardashian Sex Tape
This is a turning point for Kardashian family fortune and brand. This scandalous leak catapulted the Kardashian name to great heights. Some people think that this entire fiasco was staged with mastermind being Kris Jenner to promote the upcoming reality show about the family. The sex tape was made in 2003 with Kim Kardashian and her former boyfriend Ray J. It was leaked in 2007. The tape was released online via TMZ. Vivid Entertainment buys the rights to release it as a 41 minute home video titled “Kim Kardashian, Superstar”. Kardashian initially files lawsuit preventing it from released but settled for a $5 million payout allowing Vivid Entertainment to release the tape. This made her extremely famous among young millennials who are getting access to the internet searching for porn. The entire thing made her famous as if she acted in a big Hollywood blockbuster. The Kardashian name is now associated with sex, drama & fashion. The best combination that anybody could associate to make easy money. People want to know more about what this strange family is doing.
Around the same time as the sex tape in 2007, Kris Jenner approached Ryan Seacrest to produce a show based on their family. She pitched that she has a bunch of girls that have so much drama in their life; it does not need to be scripted. The show was picked up by E! network and Kris Jenner became the executive producer of the show. After the release of the sex tape, people were hungry to know more about the Kardashians. The show was premiered soon after the leak. It followed Kris, Bruce & Kourtney, Khloé, and Rob Kardashian, and half-sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner as they carry out their day to day lives. The show was also the starting point for Kendall & Kylie Jenner’s careers. This proved hugely successful & popular and lead to spin-offs focusing the individual lives of each Kardashian. The show also documents the Kardashians’ lives as they engage in their other work like modeling. The Kardashians went from sidelines of Hollywood to A-list celebrities and household names. Brands that Kardashians endorse in the show sells like hotcakes, especially in the lifestyle sector. The Kardashians also use the popularity of the show launch other business ventures.
Kardashian branded products
Now that the Kardashians made a name for themselves, it is time to capitalize on the name literally. Starting with Kim Kardashian, they started releasing Kardashian branded products. It started with Kardashian Glamour Tan, a fake-tan brand. Next was a perfume branded “Kim Kardashian”. They released a clothing brand named “Kardashian Kollection”. Now the Kardashian name is being promoted as a product itself. The name is promoted in more traditional advertising channels and inside retail stores. Now everybody in the United States & many people around the world heard the name, Kardashian and it is associated with a physical object that they can hold and use.
Mobile Games & Social Media
Now that millennials are getting old, the Kardashians decided to focus on Gen Z to grow their reach and market. Generation Z will be new customers for them. However, Gen Z has different tastes and use different media channels. Therefore, they started focusing more on social media. In 2012, Kim Kardashian joined Instagram. Instagram is the best place to showcase the Kardashian lifestyle visually. They even released a mobile game titled Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, which made $1.6 million in the first five days of release. A whole new generation is hooked on Kardashians. The Kardashians go to great lengths to create viral content, which sometimes causes controversy. Kardashians are sometimes called out for craving media attention. What people do not realize is that the Kardashian brand built on media attention. They have to do whatever necessary to keep the brand alive. Without media attention, the brand will die, and they will like any other wealthy family. With the constant attention on them, they would not be able to charge millions of dollars for their social media posts.
Diversification & Future
The Kardashian family operates as a corporation. They need to diversify to reduce risk. That is what some Kardashians are doing. Kim Kardashian got married to the famous Kanye West, who is also known have done attention craving stunts. Kylie Jenner started Kylie Cosmetics, which is a company in itself. It is now worth over a billion dollars and makes high-quality cosmetics. Kardashian family has new additions including kids from Kourtney, Kim & Kylie. Therefore, the family has been slowly promoting the kids to be the faces of the Kardashian brand in the future. It subtly started with North West. Now, North West’s name featured in the media more often.
To summaries why the Kardashians are famous:
- Kris Jenners high profile marriages
- The trial of O.J. Simpson
- Kris Jenner’s management of her daughters’ careers
- The Kim Kardashian sex tape being released
- The launch of Keeping Up with the Kardashians reality show
- Kardashian branded products being promoted
- Viral social media posts & social media engagement