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Dressing Big Brother – a Very big mistake?

Very has doubled the number of products available on a click to buy basis as part of its ongoing deal with Big Brother. But do you really want a bunch of loudmouth drunks endorsing your clothes?

Gone are the days when Big Brother dominated our TV screens and our office gossip. Who was the mega bitch? Who was the manipulator? Who was going to win? Millions of us cared, almost despite ourselves. What was meant as an experiment into the human psyche became a nightly obsession, with viewers able to watch almost every move made in the house.

But it’s not all been good. Five years ago, eight million of us watched agog as Jade Goody and others bullied Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty in Celebrity Big Brother. There have been other fireworks and bust ups, physical violence and emotional abuse, often alcohol-induced. And let’s not forget the infamous wine bottle that was (voluntarily) inserted where no bottle should go.

That’s before we even get into the reality of some of the contestants’ wardrobes. Certain eviction outfits left little to the imagination – although we all wished they had.

In some respects Very’s tie up with Big Brother is a great idea – although it no longer dominates the airwaves since moving to Channel 5 it has commanded a respectable viewing audience of around 1.5-2 million. These viewers are young, into popular culture and almost certainly fast fashion, and so to use one of those awful management phrases, the synergies between the two brands are strong.

But would you really want a drunken loudmouth wearing your clothes? Does your brand align itself with someone getting hammered on Lambrini, shouting incoherently and then vomiting all over themselves?

Brands have in the past actively sought to distance themselves from this sort of behaviour – think Abercrombie & Fitch who paid Jersey Shore “star” The Situation to stop wearing its clothes. A&F realised early on that despite all the TV time it was getting, the reputational damage caused by being associated with a crass, self-obsessed, vacuous “laydeez man” was not worth it.

Very is of course a different kettle of fish to A&F but the faces it chooses to endorse its clothing - Holly Willoughby and Fern Cotton - are on the whole well groomed and well behaved, even when on Celebrity Juice.

It is easy to subscribe to the view that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but as we move away from the generation that lionised the laddettes, I wonder whether the etailer’s partnership with Big Brother could be a Very big mistake.

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