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The Lochte Brand: Stupid or Genius?

Ryan Lochte confirmed what everyone was already thinking in the premier of his reality show last weekend on E!: Ryan Lochte is an idiot.  Or is he...?

Following his last two Olympic performances, Lochte scored mountains of endorsements, appeared shirtless across dozens of magazine covers and print ads, and has followed the script for every commercial, no matter how ridiculous. But unscripted, he reminds us that he is best seen and not heard.

After the premiere of “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” a swarm of criticism fell on the athlete.  By now you have seen the viral video with Good Day Philadelphia, where the anchors could not control their laughter after an interview with the gold medalist (see the end of this post).  Boston Globe TV critic sums up most viewers opinions of his show in one tweet, “What’s it like to have stupid be your brand? #RyanLochte”.

But if the “Lochte Edge” is branded as stupid, is that exactly what he has intended?

Today, television reduces everything to the simplest common denominator. What has evolved is a media environment that is continually being pushed toward the ignorant, silly and idiotic.

"You can't swing a smart fifth-grader without hitting a stupid person on TV," writes Chicago Sun-Times TV critic Doug Elfman. "A lot of reality shows, commercials and sitcoms wouldn't even exist if it weren't for the simpleton lives of the Paris Hilton and other celebridopes."

Courted by many networks, Lochte honed in on the entertainment channel because of the empire it has created with reality star, Kim Kardasian.  A shining celebridope, herself.

Lochte told USA Today Sports, “"I have the most respect for her with her business and what she's done. She started from nothing and now look at her. You can ask anyone and they're going to know who she is. She's a star."

With Kim as his role model, its obvious Lochte was not out to just be a celebrity, but to build a branded empire “from nothing”.  And build he has, rolling out fashion collections for men and women, fitness videos, protective sunwear, and Lochte-branded bedding, in addition to the eight-episode series.

Perhaps, Lochte is in fact some sort of genius meta-construction on the nature of celebrity, who has studied the market and crafted his brand to match.

Regardless of the thought that may or may not have gone into it, its obvious from just one 30 minute episode, that stupid sells and Lochte has got stupid locked down.  We'll just have to wait and see where this branding will take him. Jeah!

The Good Day Philadelphia viral video..."I can't do it.  My lashes are going to come off."