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Real Relationship Aside: Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce are 100% in a PR Relationship

Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce's alleged romance with Taylor Swift has created a successful PR relationship benefiting both parties.

In the past few weeks, my world has been consumed by the presence of Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce. Despite my lack of interest in American football, Kelce has managed to infiltrate my life through various channels. His podcast clips appear on my TikTok feed, his Experian ads interrupt my YouTube tutorials, and even my Instagram feed suggests that he has a penchant for Versace silk blouses. The sudden omnipresence of Kelce, with his distinctive handlebar mustache, is overwhelming.

This newfound fame can be attributed to Kelce's alleged romance with singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Swift has been spotted attending Chiefs games with famous friends such as Sophie Turner, Ryan Reynolds, and Hugh Jackman. Kelce's mother has even been seen wearing a friendship bracelet inspired by Swift. While the nature of their relationship remains unconfirmed, crisis public relations expert Molly McPherson believes that Swift and Kelce are involved in a PR relationship. This public-facing link-up benefits both parties, generating millions of album streams, increased social media followers, and a buzzworthy award season campaign. McPherson asserts that their PR relationship is a resounding success, evident in the fact that the NFL has embraced the Taylor-Travis relationship, halting their digital and advertising campaigns.

Kelce has undoubtedly benefited from this PR relationship. Swifties, Swift's dedicated fan base, have flocked to Chiefs' NFL broadcasts in hopes of catching a glimpse of their queen in the box seats at Arrowhead Stadium. As a result, Chiefs ratings have skyrocketed, and Kelce's jersey sales have increased by a staggering 400%. But what does Swift gain from this association? As one of the biggest stars in the world, Swift understands the public's fascination with her love life. She has skillfully utilized romantic paparazzi photos and cryptic song lyrics to craft an image of herself as the lovelorn girl-next-door since her early days as a country-pop princess. McPherson explains that Swift knows relationships will always be a topic of discussion among Swifties, making it easy for her to maintain their interest. This, coupled with her songwriting talent, ambition, and devoted fanbase, has kept her relevant for nearly two decades.

Swift is not the only celebrity to employ PR relationships to her advantage. Collaborative couples like Beyoncé and Jay-Z, as well as writer/directors Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, have also utilized this strategy. In the political realm, the Obamas are the epitome of a relatable power couple, despite their immense wealth and influence. They have carefully curated their narrative, turning their first date into a feature film and openly discussing the challenges they faced in their relationship. McPherson praises the Obamas for their vulnerability and transparency, as they use their PR relationship as a platform to express their values and ideals without resorting to traditional political rhetoric.

Even PR relationships that do not end in a traditional sense can still generate buzz and influence for all parties involved. Jada Pinkett Smith's recent revelation about her separation from husband Will Smith has sparked widespread discussion. While not celebratory in nature, this revelation is likely to generate interest in Pinkett Smith's upcoming memoir. The success of a PR relationship does not hinge on its longevity, but rather on its ability to enhance each star's brand.

As tempting as it may be to judge these celebrities for their performative relationships, I cannot claim innocence. In my own dating experiences, I have employed tactics such as thirst traps and vague, yearning social media posts. I suspect that many of us have engaged in similar acts of public relations in our personal lives. However, we should not completely absolve these celebrities of responsibility. While searching for love is challenging for everyone, the allure of a lucrative brand partnership undoubtedly softens the blow.

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