As we tentatively approach the new year with high hopes and depleted bank accounts following a season of Christmas revelry, we affix our shiny new 2014 calendars to our bedroom walls. Having skipped forward to check which picture we’ll have for our birthday month, many of us will designate the wall calendar a prime position bed-side, so that our favourite artist, actress or celebrity crush can survey the progress of our New Year’s resolutions from on high. Despite living in an age of technology, with smart calendars at our fingertips, the traditional – often cheesy – wall calendar remains a fixture of the Christmas shopping season.
Of course, any celebrity worth their salt will make sure to have a brand new series of 12 artistic photos available for their fans in calendar form, usually gracing shelves by November – in plenty of time for the festive shopping rush. Celebrities do everything possible to keep their face in the public awareness, to keep their image current, and their brand relevant. This means endorsing the latest in fashion and flaunting it on the tabloid’s front pages, purchasing the trendiest cars and tweeting about them, even showcasing the latest designer bottle of water. Of course, maintaining celebrity status means selling lots of pricey merchandise to adoring fans. This keeps our favourite celebs current, appeases the rabid fan base, and rakes in some serious extra revenue. If there’s a product on which a star can put their image, logo, or name on and sell to the general public, then generally – depending on the artist’s qualms or integrity – they’ll be on board. Merchandise costs celebrities very little time and requires almost no effort on their part, so why not shamelessly get their faces, mottos, or names on clothing, toys, accessories, mugs – or the humble calendars?
Celebrity merchandise is a valuable cash cow, with high profile personalities garnering enormous revenue from merchandise sales and side projects. Radio and television host Glen Beck, for example, made $10 million last year from his radio show but netted himself $3 million for speeches and appearances, $5 million for his book, and $3 million more from advertising and merchandise – $3 million just to show up? No complaints there. Depending on the star and how much merchandise they churn out, they can make equal to even double the amount they would regularly make from their day job. Singers tend to be the artists making the most revenue from merchandise sales, since band t-shirts are ever-popular gifts.
One of the most popular merchandise items next to the t-shirt is the yearly calendar. People of all ages purchase calendars as Christmas gifts, and celebrities definitely take advantage of this. This year, as always, we’ve witnessed the rush to land the most sought-after calendars and when it comes to pin-ups for 2014, there are five stars in particular that have proven enormously popular. According to online shopping giant Amazon, the five celebrities on our list are the best-selling calendar pin-ups this Christmas season. Alive or dead, current or historical, these five will be gracing the walls of most homes in 2014.
5. Marilyn Monroe
Probably one of the most recognizable women in all of history, known for her gorgeous looks, sultry attitude, and lavish lifestyle, Marilyn was – and clearly, continues to be – an inspiration to women worldwide. Men wanted to date her and women wanted to be her. After she tragically passed away, her legacy only increased and her mystique grew – and merchandising companies took full advantage of that, quickly raking in millions from merchandise sales. While she was alive, Marilyn Monroe earned about $30 million over the course of her lifetime, though it can be argued that she would have easily doubled or tripled that amount today given all of her merchandise sales. Marilyn Monroe calendars are consistently incredibly popular, as indicated by Amazon’s best seller list, and this year is no different. Pin-up queen Marilyn still has it.
4. The Beatles
This band has been credited for changing the way we listen to music. The Beatles released sometimes eccentric songs, certainly unlike anything else before them, and these Liverpudlians took the world by storm. They took Rock and Roll to a whole new level and paved the way for many of the world’s most popular singers and bands, teaching musicians to think outside the box. During their lifetime the Beatles were incredibly popular, and even after the band broke up that they continued to garner more attention and fame. With the legacy left after the tragic passing of John Lennon, the band became firmly established in the realm of rock legends. While the surviving band members continue to rake in millions from sales years after The Beatles disbanded, calendars are one of their ever-popular staple merchandise items – we bet dads and brothers are popular recipients of this calendar on Christmas morning.
3. Justin Bieber
Whether you love him or hate him, Justin Bieber is certainly good at the marketing game. Regardless of what, or who – you didn’t think we’d forget about THAT Brazilian beauty? – he’s doing, Justin’s fans cannot get enough of him and neither can the press. It’s hard to browse the internet or visit any store without seeing some Justin Bieber’s face crop up on news feeds, magazines or merchandise. The young star makes a whopping $55 million a year and we can only imagine a hefty portion of that comes from selling merchandise to fanatical ‘Belieber’ fans. The moment he started releasing calendars, they flew off the shelves into the hands of devoted fans or their doting mothers and Justin landed himself squarely in the top 3 best-selling calendars this Christmas.
2. Taylor Swift
Unless you’re one of the unfortunate ex-boyfriends being blasted in one of Tay’s innumerable hit songs, you’ve probably joined the rest of the world in falling in love with this all-American, country sweetheart and her music. Always smiling and tastefully decked out in cutting-edge trends, Taylor’s impressive fan base of ‘Swifties’ simply cannot get enough of the starlet and her music. With several awards, platinum-selling albums and even lifetime achievement awards under her belt, Taylor Swift is reported to make an estimated $35.7 million a year from record sales and tours alone. Her merchandise sales probably net her millions more and her calendars, according to Amazon, are a trending product this festive season.
1. One Direction
The least surprising entry on our list, One Direction have taken the world by storm and have saturated the market with merchandise. Although they’re the most recent artists on the list, these British (and Irish!) lads have made quite the name for themselves. The feverish obsession surrounding these guys is reminiscent of the boy band craze in the 90s. They appeal to the younger crowd with their boyish good looks, talent, catchy songs, and all around likeable personas. Although the band hasn’t publicly released their earnings, we can only imagine that they’re sitting pretty on a lump sum of several million considering their wild popularity. One Direction merchandise has been flying off the shelves and millions of lucky little girls will likely be opening a One Direction calendar under the Christmas tree this year, with the charming lads selling more 2014 calendars than any other celebrity on Amazon this year.
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