Joan Rivers: Marketing Genius

The recent death of Joan Rivers was shocking to many. As Andy Cohen said on “Today,” the fact that people were shocked over the death of someone who was 81 speaks to her indomitable energy. Despite her age, no one perceived her to be elderly, least of all herself.

Another shock followed her death–the revelation that Joan Rivers had sold over $1 billion worth of merchandise on QVC.

Joan Rivers managed to extend her hilarious red carpet takedowns (for years, the most anticipated part of Hollywood awards shows) into a perception of fashion expertise which turned into a brand in and of itself. (Image Credit)

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Selling jewelry and clothing was just one of her many jobs–she regularly criss-crossed the country to perform standup, tape her “Fashion Police” show on E! and appear at events. She even won “Celebrity Apprentice.” As she said in the documentary “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,” she had to keep up her legendary work ethic in order to support her “Versailles-like” apartment and lifestyle.

She seemed to be an unlikely match for home shopping success. A comedian who was known for her raunchy language, she had to tone it down for home audiences. (I’d be willing to bet that many of the women who purchased her lady-like merchandise on QVC never heard her standup act.)

After her death, Joan Rivers was universally lauded by others in show business for her kindness and generosity. Maybe that side came through to shoppers at home.

That was her marketing magic – having the ability to put the right thing in front of the right audience.

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