Advertising Week 2013

Kris Jenner Tries to Convince Conservative Brands the Kardashians Aren't Toxic

At Advertising Week, the Momager Tells Audience Her Family's Constant Drama Can Be a Boon to Marketers

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Keeping up with the Kardashians' vast array of brand endorsement deals, TV shows and daily press mentions can be hard to do.

Kris Jenner
Kris Jenner

But "Momager" Kris Jenner is the one who stays on top of it all -- lucrative as it all is for her family -- and she took the stage at Advertising Week in New York on Tuesday to discuss the Kardashians' evolution into a world famous brand. She was interviewed by Scott Donaton, global chief content officer at Interpublic Group of Cos.' UM.

Much of the chat revolved largely around the hundreds of things the Kardashian and Jenner clans are involved in. That ranges from fashion, which includes their own set of boutiques called Dash to a line at Kmart, to Kim Kardashian fragrances and even pharmaceutical endorsements for Merck by Ms. Jenner's husband and former Olympian Bruce Jenner.

But savvy marketer that she is, she also didn't waste the opportunity to pitch a roomful of ad people. Ms. Jenner spent some time trying to appeal to advertisers and agencies in the room that aligning with the Kardashian will reap returns.

Given the family is a top target of gossip magazines and blogs on a daily basis it's only expected that some conservative marketers could shy away. Those especially were the kind that Ms. Jenner was hoping to convince to give the Kardashian clan -- which she euphemistically acknowleged as "colorful" -- a shot. "When a company like Kotex reaches out it's because we are successful, and they have an open mind about it," she said. "They realize it's a modern world."

Social Media Penetration

She also claimed that the size of her brood and their reach on social media is a powerful tool for connecting with consumers. By working with one of the members of the family, advertisers get a "security blanket," she said. For example, if Ms. Jenner signs an endorsement deal, her daughters might mention it to their Twitter followers or post on Instagram about it, extending the reach to millions more people. (Kim alone has a whopping 18.5 million followers on Twitter and nearly 10 million on Instagram.)

Ms. Jenner noted that social media is a major committment the Kardashians and Jenners have made for PR purposes, and the media channels her family is involved with are constantly increasing. The family recently got onto the video sharing social network Keek in the hopes that it's another social channel that will amplify the 62 million total Twitter followers the members of the family already have.

She further vowed that her family takes brand endorsements seriously, pointing to her youngest daughters, Kendall and Kylie Jenner's deal with Pac-Sun. "They learned from their sisters," she said. "They feel responsible for the quality and the resulting press."

With the good, comes some bad. And Ms. Jenner acknowledged the fact that her family often is bieseged with negative press -- but she attempted to position it as a good thing for advertisers.

In a recent example, Ms. Jenner said she was reading the tabloid coverage about daughter Khloe's rumored "secret baby," and laughed it off. "It sells magazines," and it will sell product too, she said. "We have thick skin."