Snooki Visits Simon & Schuster

Via Jane comes a video that’ll raise your hair: behold the Simon & Schuster promotional videos for Snooki’s new book, which is a nonfiction guide to being a “guidette.”

The Director’s Cut was even more of the same, with shots of S&S employees drinking, drinking, more drinking, or passed out under their desks, with one shot of a male employee dressed in full Jersey Shore style helping a woman get her bag of chips out of the machine. It’s since been removed.

ETA: It’s been uploaded again, if you’d like to watch.

“Stick those boobs out and that ass.” Ah, yes. Nothing like a day at work in publishing, last standing fortress in literary gatekeeping.

I’m presuming that anyone who participated did so voluntarily, but wow. WOW. Who is the audience for this video? I’m going to guess the humor was aimed at other people in publishing. Maybe other people within the industry would find this really funny, but is this really for readers? People who already like Snooki? Who is the audience?

And why demean the female executives of Simon & Schuster to promote a book? As author Tayari Jones said on Twitter, “Is this S&S Snooki trailer real? Who is the audience? Is that REALLY the publisher??”

I’d like to think I have a relatively well-functioning sense of humor, and I’m all for goofy videos, but this just made me cringe.

I noticed that the subtitles only identify the women by their job titles, and not by their actual names. Why is that? Are they already celebrities within publishing culture that we’re supposed to know who they are? 

The bigger question in my mind is, would any male executive do this should The Situation get a book deal? Picture that: an abdominal flex-off with the publisher, executive editor, CFO and a few other male executives. Shirts off, everyone!

NB: I want to point out two things. First, as a resident of New Jersey and someone who loves the beaches, the “Jersey Shore” you see on tv represents about 2% of the actual Jersey shore towns. There’s a lot of shore towns that hate hate haaattteee that show, because it hurt tourism like a miniature oil spill for NJ beach towns, only instead of crude oil, it’s tanning oil and hair gel that people think ooze all over the shore. The actual Jersey shore, with the sand and the ocean and the salt water taffy, is awesome. Your hair is just fine the way it is. Come on down (but bring an umbrella, as it’s raining today).

Second, I don’t actually have anything against Snooki herself. She’s made a career out of being a character, and she’s successful at it.

But the publisher’s choice to portray female publishing executives as miniature Snookiees in order to promote the book just makes me bang my head on the desk.

What’s your take? Have a handy poll in case you don’t want to leave a comment.

 

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Random Musings

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  1. 1
    Kiersten says:

    Thanks for putting the words to the feelings I couldn’t quite articulate, particularly the idea that the men of S&S would not be likewise exploited. I actually physically cringed watching the Director’s Cut but at the same time was thinking “it’s viral marketing, a kind of wink wink at the whole Jersey Shore lifestyle” but that didnt quite fly for me either. I wanted to applaud the marketing intent, but I couldn’t b/c ugh. And I hatehatehatehatehate that my beloved Jersey shore has been reduced nationwide to this fallacy.

    Apparently, S&S has now taken the Director’s Cut down from youtube.

  2. 2
    SB Sarah says:

    Yes, I agree. It could have been really silly if, for example, there were men and women embracing the “Guidette style,” especially since it is silly already. But the fact that it was all women, all young women in the Director’s cut and all executive women in the remaining video made me cringe a lot. My cringes had cringes.

  3. 3
    Ali says:

    As a Jersey Girl (a real one, mind you—not someone who has been imported from another state), that show has caused me all kinds of grief. It’s SO not what the Jersey shore is actually like. It promotes all sort of false assumptions etc. But the show is somewhat ancillary.

    This video is cringe-tastic. It is demeaning, and I can’t see it as being an effective marketing tactic. As you pointed out, it’s interesting that no one’s name was used, just their titles. The part where she’s walking down the hall, remarking about the photos of (presumably other authors) really seemed disrespectful toward the other writers at S&S.

    Thanks for writing this post, and for the NB about the shore. There are so many awesome beach towns in this state; I hate to see tourism take a nosedive.

  4. 4
    Julie says:

    I am reminded of the thousands of aspiring romance authors who spend every available minute writing, editing, polishing, paying for classes and conferences out of their own pocket, submitting to agents and editors, and still can’t seem to get traction. In other words, if you want that publishing contract, it’s obviously effective to show up at Simon and Schuster with a Bump It, wearing clothing three sizes too small, and call publishing executives “bitches”. Isn’t that what they’re portraying in the video?

    I have a sense of humor, too, but maybe I should have skipped all the hard work.

  5. 5
    Elvia says:

    I saw a whole 40 seconds of that video and had to click on the stop button as if by doing so the actual video would stop existing. I completely agree with you 100%

  6. 6
    Jrant says:

    I picked “other,” because it’s more than embarrassing. It’s demeaning and infuriating. I feel let down by the female exec’s who signed off on this.

  7. 7
    Jane says:

    I feel conflicted about this video. On the one hand, everyone seems to be having good fun.  On the other hand, ugh on the actual subject matter of the video. 

    Are we humorless for not appreciating the goodnatured participation? 

    I do think it is ironic that Snooki, who didn’t even write her book, is being celebrated by a publishing house in this manner.

  8. 8
    SB Sarah says:

    That’s my worry, too – that my sense of humor is somehow defective on this one!

    And yes, that is some sweet, sweet irony right there. She’s celebrated as an author but she didn’t write any of her books. Wow.

  9. 9
    Joanne says:

    Will someone PLEASE tell me who is buying the Snookie books that Snookie didn’t write? (there is something just wrong about that sentence but that’s S&S’s problem)

    How many books of (not) hers has that publishing house sold? Who is the target audience for her and why haven’t they been locked up? (oh, just kidding)

    I know we can’t get actual numbers *sigh* but it must have been significant enough to warrant making a *okay, I’m sighing again* video.

    My submit word is ‘boys23’ so that mayhave answered my question.

  10. 10
    Ron Hogan says:

    “I noticed that the subtitles only identify the women by their job titles, and not by their actual names. Why is that?”

    My guess is they’re hoping that they’re so “made over” in the video that, by leaving their names off, nobody will recognize them from this travesty when they start sending out their resumes.

  11. 11
    Cecilia says:

    It’s possible that I can’t be trusted on this one, because I have a huge second-hand embarrassment problem and this set it off like whoa. I am embarrassed for this video and everyone in it.

    I, also, cannot figure out who this is aimed at. I feel like the worlds of publishing and Jersey Shore are at such odds that finding someone interested enough in both to actually buy the book on the basis of the video is going to be hard work.

  12. 12
    SF geek says:

    It’s hard to narrow down the exact word that this is. Demeaning is close. WTF weird is also close. It could have worked if it was done in a campy way we’re all having a joke kind of way. Maybe if Snookie had told her publicist or the marketing department that they needed to get in touch with Snookie’s audience and had a Snookie make over and spent a day in Snookie’s high heels. But this uggg!

  13. 13
    Donna says:

    Sarah where’s your promotional video wherein everyone stops their work day to learn the appropriate amount of busoms heave out of a bodice, or the care and feeding of a mullet? Where’s the seminar full of note scribbling publishing employees learning how to fix the big miscommunication?

    I, too, went for other because it is so much more than embarassing. This whole phenomena of celebrating the banal and ignorant can get me going on a 2 hour rant. I’m with Pink: where have the smart girls gone? I’m going with excrable bad taste.

  14. 14
    Tammy says:

    I’m disappointed. I’m a HR professional by day. The disparity in the treatment of females in the workforce is disheartening.  As I’ve learned about the world of publishing, I thought I’d recognized that women in this field had it a little better than the rest of us out here.  I guess that is not the case.

  15. 15
    Kathy says:

    i don’t know.  I assume the people who like Snooki will think this is funny.  If you think Snooki is hilarious, then the idea that she made over a big publisher in her image will be equally funny.  Demeaning, crass, brilliant or whatever.  She sold an image, has a book that caters to that image, and now wants to appeal to anyone who thinks that image is $$ worthy.

    Obviously, we’re NOT her target audience.  We wouldn’t buy her book if it was on the free table.  But if you are her fan, they want to mobilize you to buy the book with a video that is vintage Snooki.  I don’t call that bad PR.  I call that appealing to the target demographic.

  16. 16
    Aurora says:

    I was honestly shocked by the video and by Snooki. I’m not a Snooki fan, never seen Jersey Shore in my life, yet it was humiliating watching this video, and by her name calling.
    Word: look23, I looked at the video and was shocked by it.

  17. 17
    Stephanie says:

    I thought the video was hilarious. It was so over the top that it was obviously a parody. I would have been more worried if the video was more subtle about portraying women in a demeaning way, but this was clearly meant to be funny. While I understand everyone’s thoughts, remember that the umbrella of feminism is wide enough for us to have different opinions about our boobs and asses and how we want to use them.

  18. 18
    beletseri says:

    Just a word of warning, the people buying these books are terrible. I was lucky enough to be working a JWoWW signing when her book was out. I have never had to deal with so many terrible, awful, illiterate 12 year olds as I did that night. That book signing will live in my memory as the most awful in a long line of terrible signings. *shudder*

  19. 19
    kkw says:

    I just thought it was dumb, but presumably the people who like jersey shore will also like this, so I suppose it’s clever marketing – and we’re talking about it, which makes it definitely clever marketing.  It didn’t offend me, it just doesn’t interest me personally.

    My extended family has a reunion every year down the shore, which has done nothing to endear the area to me, but for what it’s worth I have never seen people like this there.

  20. 20
    Jayme says:

    I haven’t had cable (basic or otherwise) for over two years now. If this is a sign of what I’m missing, I’m okay with that. I was annoyed about a few seconds in. *cringes*

  21. 21
    jody says:

    Perhaps at some point after the advance check was cashed, it dawned on somebody at S&S that many Snookettes probably can’t read.  Hence the video.  I can just imagine the memo. 

    I remember when Simon and Schuster was one of the most respected publishing houses in the world.  National Guidette Day?  Oh. My. God.  That smell isn’t hair gel.  It’s desperation.

  22. 22
    TanyaD says:

    I have to agree with most of what’s been said.  Many of you have put into words my confusion and emotional response to the video.  And I still feel like WTF did I just watch.
    It very much portrays a whole attitude I never fell into.  An attitude that makes me cringe.  If the target audience is the illiterate 12 year olds, are we actually teaching them it’s cute to walk into a room full of women you barely know and call them ‘Bitches? 
    Sorry, I feel myself falling into a rant due to my veiwing of th video.  I am just going to say I hope S&S doesn’t feel too much backlash from this.  I feel as though I have lost some of respect—for lack of better word—for the company.

  23. 23
    Joannef says:

    There’s a lot of shore towns that hate hate haaattteee that show

    As a real resident of the Jersey Shore and a Jersey Girl born and raised, I can assure you that ALL of the NJ Shore towns – with the possible exception of Seaside Heights – loathe that show infinitely more than you described.  And don’t even get me started with “Cake Boss,” “Real Housewives of NJ,” or “Jerseylicious!”

    Please, please, please, Hollywood;  focus your enmity on another target for a change!  How about “Real Housewives of South Dakota,” “Cowpie Boss,” or “Iowalicious” for a change.

    Ah, I feel soooo much better now!

  24. 24
    Ann says:

    I’m going to assume frequenters of a site called “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books” (also noted in the browser’s title bar: “Come for the Dominican Bitches”), who are themselves collectively known as The Bitchery, are being facetious rather than hypocritical when they claim offense at the use of the word “bitches” by someone outside their demographic of choice.

    Point the second, this is the second time this site of not-Snooki’s-target-audience has given space to Snooki’s publishing endeavors, so in a world where publicity of any kind converts directly into dollars, this has been an obscenely successful marketing campaign. S&S couldn’t afford the kind of advertising that would be required to make awareness of this product unavoidable by even not-Snooki’s-target-audience.

  25. 25

    Um, vaguely horrifying. I’m reminded why I don’t turn on the TV and don’t watch that show. Too painful to watch bc underlying humor is a piece of truth and if this is what she thinks being a successful young woman involves, I weep for our society.

  26. 26
    MelB says:

    I said other because I think this video is degrading and crass. The male execs would never do something like this and to think that someone in marketing thought this was brilliant is beyond me. I bet it was a man who came up with this, if not, it had to be a woman who like Snooki, sees no harm in promoting a character -type that demeans women.

  27. 27
    Mel says:

    I would have rather seen a video where the female executives reinact My Fair Lady and give lessons in speech, dress, and decorum to the “author.”

    Word:  audience52. Really, that many?

  28. 28
    quichepup says:

    Do all of these women really work at S&S or are some of them actresses hired for this video? Good or bad the publicity people did manage one thing, they got us talking about Snooki and her book. So I’d say it’s a win for them.

    Yeah it’s weird and they look silly but promotion causes people to do strange, strange things.

  29. 29
    Kathleen O says:

    Thanks for the laugh.. I needed it.. I feel sorry that this is the face of New Jersey…. I am sure there are wonderful people who live in at the Jersey Shore..

    Is she for real.. or is this all an act.. ????

  30. 30
    James Lynch says:

    I think that JERSEY SHORE is a blatant appeal to the lowest common denominator in America, and I hope its cast makes as much money as they can before their audience wises up and leaves them out in the broadcasting cold.

    I wonder if JERSEY SHORE makes residents of New Jersey miss the days when their state was associated with THE SOPRANOS.  “Remember when people thought we were dysfunctional mobsters—but we were actually intelligent?”

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