Joe Lycett stands to make bank from his ‘comedic activism’ after he changed his name to Hugo Boss.
The comedian may face some unlikely negative backlash fromthe move, but according to a PR expert, it’s all looking up for the funnymanwho turned the internet on its head this week when he announced his new name.
It all went down on Sunday when it emerged comedian Joe(well, now Hugo) had legally changed his name by deed poll to Hugo Boss inprotest against the massive company targeting a small brewery in Swansea thatshared the Boss name.
Now Hayley Smith, of Boxed Out PR, has praised the move, believing it will very much work in Joe/Hugo’s favour seeing as it’s both in line with his brand and something no one saw coming.
‘Changing his name to Hugo Boss will most likely boost his career, and it has already boosted his profile as many panel and comedy shows will want to hone in on this topic,’ she tells Metro.co.uk. ‘The issue is, is that this may only be temporary and doesn’t really have the legs to carry him very far. How many times can he do this before it becomes samey and boring?
‘However, we have already seen Hugo Boss’ (the brand’s) response and it has been positive. So in terms of PR and awareness, Joe (Hugo) has done a really good thing. And he could really cash in on this by calling out other companies and brands. He could change his comedy direction to comedic activism.’
Should he be keen to cash in, Smith estimates Joe could stand to boost his bank balance by ‘at least £1.5million’ due to the work this will generate.
She continued: ‘The PR he has already gained from this is invaluable, and he is already a regular on several panel shows as well as a presenter for his own shows. He will be in popular demand with shows falling over themselves to book him, so he will be in a fantastic position to negotiate.
‘I also wouldn’t be surprised if Netflix approached him forhis own show.’
Still, this kind of activism doesn’t always come without its backlash, with Smith suggesting a small chance he may face flack from the LGBTQ+ community, and trans people specifically, over the seemingly-hasty name change – even if it was for a bigger reason of protest.
‘Changing a name is a huge decision and a major part of transition and isn’t something to be made lightly,’ Smith explains. ‘This could be seen as insulting or trivial within some of the community. It is unlikely, but he does need to be aware of this.’
She adds: ‘Also, if he continues to change his name, itcould cross the line between funny and annoying. But again, it all comes downto the route he takes with this. At the moment, the activism is working forhim, but if he starts to do it for sake’s sake, he could lose his audience.’
This week we’ve seen a bunch of copycats jump on the bandwagon, with Mark Rofe, from Sheffield, announcing on Twitter that he had changed his name to Joe Lycett, followed by BBC radio presenter Danny Kelly, who did the same thing while the name was apparently free.
However, Smith explains the difference with these is that Joe (Hugo) initially changed his name for a valid reason in order to make a difference. And for that, his reason is more meaningful.
She says: ‘What is really brave of Joe (Hugo) is that this is clearly a statement. When you change your name, it becomes associated with you, so taking on Hugo Boss is a bold move and something that he clearly believes in. From a PR perspective, this is incredible and something that deserves to be spoken about. Go Hugo!’
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