One Direction stars Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles have very different media profiles. In many ways, this should not be a surprise. Louis and Harry are, of course, very different guys but they have five years of shared history in one of the world’s most popular bands to fall back on. It seems clear that Tomlinson and Styles have been built up to be part of the One Direction “brand.” Most of what we think we know about Harry and Louis is part of the brand image. Their image has been carefully managed to fit the “product” and the marketing strategy.
The success of the marketing strategy, and the subsequent branding, is beyond question. Harry, Louis and their bandmates are obviously the most important part of the branding exercise. Simon Cowell hand-picked Tomlinson, Styles, Horan, Payne and Malik to appeal to a certain demographic and to plug a gap in the boy-band market. What has arguably become clear as time has passed is that no-one anticipated that Tomlinson and his mates would become the global superstars that they are.
As previously reported by Inquisitr the Sony e-mail scandal gave us an insight into how carefully the image of Styles, Tomlinson and the others were to be portrayed. As divulged by the emails, Styles was to be portrayed as “witty, cheeky and adorably slow.” Tomlinson and the rest of One Direction had their own profile roles to play. Malik was to be portrayed as a “poser and a player;” as time progressed, Malik came to be seen as One Direction’s “bad boy.”
From wiki leaks via Sony ab the boys. Zayn as a "poser & a player"?! Ugh ???? pic.twitter.com/cyW9dHgXLZ
— 1D Beards ❤️⚓️ (@1D_Beards) April 17, 2015
In March of last year, Malik upset the image balance when he walked out on One Direction shortly after the band’s world tour kicked off. As a result, it seems a campaign began to have Tomlinson replace Malik as the One Direction “bad boy.” In late spring and early summer of last year, we saw photographs of Tomlinson leaving clubs with a succession of women, one of whom was Briana Jungwirth. Things began to gather pace in July when the Sun claimed Briana was expecting Louis’ baby.
Since that story broke, fans have seen hundreds of articles emerge trashing Tomlinson’s reputation. In October, the Daily Mail reported that Tomlinson was partying with “a bevvy of beauties” at a London nightclub. As has become normal of the group, no story was complete without the almost obligatory reference to Tomlinson’ impending fatherhood. In December Tomlinson was linked with actress Danielle Campbell. Metro and many other outlets reported that Louis had “dumped” his pregnant girlfriend just weeks before she was due to give birth.
By the end of December, the Mirror was falsely claiming that Tomlinson had been “kicked out” of a London comedy club. These are just a few of the many stories portraying Louis as a “bad boy.”
In contrast to Tomlinson, Harry has kept a fairly low media profile. We saw the usual stories linking Styles with women including model Georgina Fowler and Kendall Jenner. The most controversial stories about Styles were about his choice of suit at a number of award ceremonies and whether or not Harry was going to get a haircut.
Of course, Harry and Louis are by no means in control of their public image. The image is largely created by Simon Cowell, One Direction’s management, and the media. Even when it came to the Sun’s notorious article about One Direction’s forthcoming hiatus, the blame was laid at Tomlinson’s feet. The article claimed that Tomlinson and Styles were barely on speaking terms after a major fallout in 2012.
Throughout the piece, the Sun accused Tomlinson’s drugs use, jealousy and manipulative nature as the root cause behind One Direction’s temporary split. The article does not contain a single word of criticism directed towards Styles. Of course, only those in Tomlinson’s inner circle will know why he is being portrayed as he is.
— CelebMix 1D (@CelebMix1D) January 22, 2016
Tomlinson is being portrayed as hard-nosed and uncaring, an image that is about a million miles away from the Louis who donates huge amounts of his personal wealth to help sick children. Tomlinson’s kindness to the children he has met through his charity work was reported by Inquisitr last week.
It is clear that Tomlinson’s public image is very different from what it used to be. Could it be that we are seeing the Louis Tomlinson that his management want us to see? Could it be that Tomlinson is being set up as a scapegoat for One Direction’s extended hiatus?
What do you think about how Tomlinson is portrayed? Let us know below.
[Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP]