x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Paris tweets and reveals Midas touch in Dubai

Rarely before in history has a person been so perfectly matched with a building as when Paris Hilton checked out the Hotel Atlantis.

Rarely before in history has a person been so perfectly matched with a building as when Paris Hilton checked out the Hotel Atlantis on the Palm this week. Its garish pink exterior and heart-shaped facade could have been designed with the slender hotel heiress in mind. Her reaction, which once might have gone unrecorded among the whirring of a thousand camera shutters, has fortunately been preserved for posterity. "Dubai is amazingggggggg!!! Huuuuuugeeee!" she twittered. Whole travel books have been written without such detail and gusto. Paris in Dubai! Huge! The downturn is over, Paris says so, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Few people polarise public opinion quite as much as Ms Hilton. A female friend of mine dismisses her as a "bimbo". Others are less polite. But those of us in the writing game should reflect that while we turn out perfectly crafted sentences for a pittance, she is flown halfway across the world in first class by Emirates Airline because they know she will give them valuable publicity. What does she say that is so priceless? Judge for yourself from her Twitter posts: "About to take off, so excited!" "My bed ? Huge ? So Comfy." "This airline is Amazing."

No final exclamation mark, but an unnecessary capital letter gives the emphasis that sends the marketeers salivating. Those tweets have been viewed by the more than 200,000 people - up from 195,000 on Tuesday - who follow her on Twitter and many more besides. According to a brand expert, those tweets alone are worth US$1.5 million (Dh5.5m) to Emirates Airline. It must be a marvellous thing to be a walking, talking brand. Other people have managed to become walking billboards and advertisers' dreams, but generally they had to achieve something first. Muhammad Ali had to become the best boxer on the planet, while Tiger Woods had to achieve mastery over putting a small white ball into an even smaller hole, and even David Beckham scored the odd goal, even though he never managed to beat his marker. But Ms Hilton shot to fame when she made a home movie with a friend in a hotel room.

The rest has been achieved in a blaze of publicity. She is famous for being ? what exactly? She goes to nightclubs, wears clothes for a fee, and has even made records. Nobody buys them of course, because they are dreadful, but she has a television show. The premise is so stupid that you can hardly imagine the pitch: Ms Hilton: "I want to make a TV show." Producer: "What's it about?" Ms Hilton: "Me. And finding a best friend forever."

Producer: "Brilliant." Ms Hilton, bimbo or not, appears to have come up with a priceless business model. Her Twitter pages might seem like the ramblings of an airhead - does she write them herself one wonders, or does she have a ghostwriter? They are almost post-modern. A recent tweet was a picture of her in a Dubai magazine. But we can be sure that her followers follow her fashion, and take her advice. Yesterday she announced to the waiting world that she has given up her BlackBerry in favour of a Sony Ericsson handset.

Despite the endorsement of Barack Obama, the US president, who famously resisted calls to give up his BlackBerry, Ms Hilton's abandonment of it in favour of a Sony is likely to lead to a similar exodus worldwide. A BlackBerry is now very last week; many handsets will be tossed into rubbish bins or used as the foundation for man-made islands. She also said she was thinking of investing in Dubai property. I hope Colliers is listening.

Ms Hilton appears to have struck gold, a fool's gold, that everybody wants to buy. Not everybody is fooled by appearances. A businessman in Germany has decided that everyone wants real gold, which he plans to sell from vending machines all over Europe. In his view, people want reality, not a virtual reality. "This is more than a marketing gimmick," Thomas Geissler, the chief executive of TG-Gold-Super-Markt.de, told Reuters. "It is an appetiser for a strategic investment in precious metals. Gold is an asset everyone should have, between 5 and 15 per cent of your liquid assets in physical gold." You will be able to put your euros in a slot and receive in return a sliver of gold the size of a child's little fingernail. Herr Geissler will charge you a mark-up of 30 per cent of the spot price of gold, which has dropped by $25 in the past week alone.

All that glisters is not gold, but Ms Hilton's hair is. I'd invest in her any day over a base metal bought in a box from a German. She has the ability to grow her brand. What if she had children, for example? Think how valuable they would be. The world was agog a week ago when Christiano Ronaldo, the former Manchester United striker, celebrated his nearly ?90 million (Dh461.1m) transfer to Real Madrid by spending a night with the lovely heiress and socialite.

Imagine. Ronaldo and Paris. He is now worth more than nine times his weight in gold. Could there be a better marketing combination? His brains are in his feet and hers are in her handbag. But both their hearts are in their wallets. rwright@thenational.ae