New Zealand’s “first baby” will arrive on the scene in June. It’s great news for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford, and it’s great news for New Zealand.
And, like it or not, this baby is going to have star quality and brand value almost before he or she even makes their first appearance.
Why? Because this baby is different from most others.
BabyJC’s mum is a stellar brand of her own, with all the dazzle of a thinking person’s Kardashian.
This little poppet is actually going to pop while Jacinda is in office, which has rarity value that will capture headlines and hearts around the world.
This baby is being born into a world dominated by social media, which means there’s pretty much nowhere to hide from the glare of public interest, even if Arden and Gayford wanted to squirrel BabyJC away.
And BabyJC is going to have brand pulling power.
It may sound a little mercenary, but there is a marketing opportunity presented by this baby for New Zealand businesses, our export businesses, and, of course, the PM herself.
Ardern has already said the couple will not be revealing the baby’s gender before birth to avoid being swamped with gender-specific clothing, but I hope there are plans in place to deal with the deluge of gifts which will now be received.
Around the country well-wishers and companies will be stacking up baby gifts, clothes and toys and shipping them to the happy couple. I already have friends in the marketing world considering how to get their items used by BabyJC.
No doubt there will be a toy-nami of Buzzy Bees and other NZ-made gifts flooding towards the Beehive as I write.
What BabyJC is seen wearing and playing with will be a huge bonus for the company which makes it, as photos of the baby whizz around the world.
Don’t believe me that this baby endorsement stuff is big business? Then look at the young British Royals.
Princess Charlotte, is only two and her brand has been valued at almost £4 billion ($7.6 billion).
That’s how much her image and her product endorsement is estimated to be worth. If she’s filmed or photographed wearing or playing with something, the retailer can sit back and wait for the rush of sales: a phenomena called the “Charlotte effect”.
When she appeared as a newborn outside the hospital wrapped in a distinctive white woollen blanket, its manufacturers reportedly sold thousands of the shawls within hours, with production doubling overnight. Sales of some fleecy pink booties Charlotte was wearing on a ski trip went up 97 per cent after a photo of her wearing them was published.
Meanwhile, her four-year- old brother, George, now has a brand value of about £2.4b and has already reached “influencer” status where his choices and preferences mean others follow, all to the benefit of the producers and manufacturers.
Ardern is already well aware of the boost she can give local fashion designers by wearing their clothes and she picks carefully to showcase local talent on a world stage.
She’s also aware of the value of showing her human side. Her cat, Paddles, became a social media star in its own right after Ardern created a Twitter account for her.
For the PM herself, this is an unplanned public relations coup on so many levels. She’s surprised and delighted us all, further increasing her popularly.
She will also become more of a global celebrity as a result of the daily developing story of the arrival of BabyJC, which we will all be following with keen interest, I’m sure.