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Travis and Taylor: Power Couple or PR Stunt?

Published on October 5, 2023, 1:08 p.m.
by Kat Weir. 

Fans of football and music have erupted after rumors that Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift have allegedly started dating. Travis Kelce, a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, has been a big name in football since he was drafted to the NFL in 2013. Taylor Swift is one of the biggest names in the music industry following her worldwide The Eras Tour and re-recordings of her many well-known albums.

Photo via Taylor Swift’s Instagram (@taylorswift)

As both are superstars in their own right, it’s only natural their followers are speculating whether their romance is a reality or just another public relations stunt. A PR relationship is a stunt pulled by celebrities’ agents in order to gain attraction. This media sensation often occurs around a movie premiere, album debut or any other event in which famous clients need extra media coverage.

Inside the playbook

Rumors of the two celebrities’ romance began when Travis Kelce was spotted at Swift’s concert in Kansas City on July 8, 2023. Kelce reportedly made a friendship bracelet, a tradition among Taylor Swift fans, with his phone number on it but was unable to give it to the singer, according to the New Heights podcast.

News of the couple skyrocketed when Swift was seen conversing in the box suites of Arrowhead Stadium with the tight end’s mother, Donna. Following Swift’s televised game appearance, Kelce’s #87 jersey sales increased 400%. The NFL also greatly profited. Views were at an all-time high, ticket prices to the Chief’s next game shot up 40%, and the organization reached a whole new audience.

Photo via Travis Kelce’s Instagram (@kelce87)

Trouble, trouble, trouble?

Swifties believe her new romance with the football star is genuine despite the speculation from football fans. Swift’s presence at the game set a regular-season record across all social platforms. However, the NFL wants to keep the focus primarily on football for the defending Superbowl champions. A source for the Chiefs reported that the team does not want to exploit this new relationship just for likes and views. The hashtag EnoughTaylorSwift began trending on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Outside of Travis, Swift has been accused of being in another orchestrated relationship. Fans of the singer-songwriter have theories her song “Getaway Car” is about actor Tom Hiddleston, her accused partner in their presumed fake relationship. In addition, Swift has been accused of profiting off her previous relationships. There are 21 “confirmed” songs Swift has released that has been about her previous ex-boyfriends.

Is Kelce in it for the long haul or will he just be another rebound for a new album? Scrutinizers of the singer believe Swift is a serial dater who wants to capitalize on her breakups and her new concert movie, which is to be released Oct. 13, 2023.

Folklore or fair catch?

Fake celebrity relationships have been around since the beginning of Hollywood. Relationships like High School Musical actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens are good examples of celebrities who date just to gain media attention. When comparing Kelce to Swift’s previous romantic interests, fans say he is not the type of guy Swift would normally go for.

The invasion of privacy comes along with being famous. Couples like Jennifer Lopez and Ben Afflek have had their privacy invaded for a majority of their relationship. Such publicity can put a strain on a couple and ruin a relationship. Celebrities involved in PR dating stunts try to do the bare minimum when it comes to being involved in each other’s lives. Swift meeting Kelce’s mother makes this relationship seem genuine rather than a gimmick. Swift’s fame has grown exponentially in the past few years; it doesn’t make sense why she would date someone for attention.

Photo by @raphaellovaski via Unsplash

If a stunt, it would be a bad move due to the social status of both parties. Exposed PR relationships cause distrust and backlash among the public. Every celebrity wants good, quality coverage, but how far do they have to go? Misleading the public is an ethical issue within the world of public relations. Celebrities should not be above that standard just because of their societal rank.

What do you think? Are Swift and Kelce America’s newest power couple, or just another ploy for attention?

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