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In a day and age of rapid commoditization and "me-too" products and services, it's good to see the pursuit of the authentic product and/or service is alive and well–even in Hollywood.

In a previous blog post, "Pursuit of the Authentic", I noted that people are hungry for the authentic and are willing to pay any price to get it. That apparently goes for Hollywood TV producers who are searching for actors and actresses across the globe that haven't been marred or tainted by too much botox and plastic surgery.

According to a recent WSJ article, "The Backlash to Botox", April 6, 2007, with the advent of high definition and big screen televisions the search is on for people who are the real deal and look the part. The article notes, "The rarest commodity in TV these days, say veteran casting directors: stars without Restylane-frozen faces and collagen-inflated lips. Indeed, studios -- scrambling to finish casting the 113 pilots slated to go into production this month for the fall season -- say there's a shortage of familiar faces that look their age."

Hollywood producers know the believability of "the product" highly depends on many of the key ingredients, in this instance the actors and actresses. "We try very hard for authenticity," says Marcia Shulman, Fox's executive vice president of casting. "If you're playing a mom you need to look like a mom. Otherwise it takes viewers completely out of the show."

The article also notes, "A rival studio says it made an offer to a star this spring on the highly unusual condition that she "lays off the injectibles."

So while consumers and business across the globe actively seek products and services that are scarce, special, real and valuable, it seems that Hollywood is no stranger to the pursuit of the authentic in the name of producing a more believable and watch-able product.

If you are an actor or actress in Hollywood, it must be hard to keep up with the Joneses. Plastic surgery, it seems, is one avenue to simply stay on par with the competition. However, as the article notes, with Hollywood casting agents scouring the globe for the untouched face, imitation and incrementalism are probably roads to a dead-end.

In this world there will always be a place for the "me-too" product or service. In fact, some people will get by and reap profits with a quick fix or a blatant imitation of a competitor's product or strategy. Even the WSJ article says there's still a demand for those actors and actresses with plump lips and stretched faces.

However, it takes guts to be true to yourself and your core business mission, and carve a special and differentiated niche in the market. The "pursuit of the authentic" is alive and well; just ask those in Hollywood whose phones are ringing much less frequently.

What are your thoughts on the pursuit of the authentic?

Do you have any pity for actors and actresses who feel the need to compete through plastic surgery and botox?

In a similar vein, how many companies attempt to compete through similar quick fixes and incremental value propositions?

Continue reading "Pursuit of the Authentic: Hollywood Style" ... Read the full article

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Paul Barsch directs services marketing programs for Teradata, the world's largest data warehousing and analytics company. Previously, Paul was marketing director for HP Enterprise Services $1.3 billion healthcare industry and a senior marketing manager at global consultancy, BearingPoint. Paul is a senior contributor to MarketingProfs, a frequent columnist for MarketingProfs DailyFix, and has published over fifteen articles in marketing, management, technology and healthcare publications. Paul earned his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He and his family reside in San Diego, CA.