Kiss is one of the most merchandised classic rock bands on the planet. Fans can buy everything from Kiss Kaskets to a Kiss/Scooby-Doo crossover movie. Because of the ubiquity of Kiss merchandise, Gene Simmons developed the reputation of being a marketing genius. His longtime bandmate, Paul Stanley, thinks that idea is false and hurtful.
Kiss’ Paul Stanley says he and Gene Simmons had different approaches to merchandising the band
In his book Face the Music: A Life Exposed, Stanley said he and Simmons had different attitudes about marketing Kiss. Stanley said he was more than happy to merchandise the band to an extreme degree, much in the way The Beatles were merchandised in the 1960s. He said Kiss’ great visual appeal makes the band perfect for merchandising. At the same time, he wanted to make sure Kiss marketed itself with quality products.
The hypothetical example Stanley gave was a cake. He said if someone came to him wanting to make a Kiss cake, he’d ask what the cake would taste like. On the other hand, Stanley said Simmons would be more interested in how visually impressive the cake was than anything else. Stanley felt he was more concerned with having a quality product, whereas Simmons was more concerned with razzle-dazzle. “Sizzle was great, but you needed the steak,” Stanley said.
Why Gene Simmons upset Paul Stanley so much
Elsewhere in the book, Stanley discussed the idea Simmons was a “marketing genius.” “Outside my growing family, Gene and I still fought on occasion,” Stanley wrote. “His use of the Kiss logo and makeup and his self-promotion in the press escalated throughout the late ’90s and beyond. I saw the term ‘marketing genius’ used in reference to Gene quite frequently in the wake of subsequent tours. It turned my stomach.”
Stanley explained why he felt this way. “Contrary to the notion that Gene spearheaded or maximized our merchandise empire, the truth is that over the years the vast majority of licensees have sought us out and all solicitations go through our product development team,” Stanley added. “Neither Gene nor I has had an active hand in any significant deals.”
Stanley explained how Simmons hurt his feelings by making people think he was a marketing genius. “He was no marketing genius,” Stanley said. “He just took credit for things. It was unwarranted, selfish, and hurtful, and there was no way to excuse it. Calculated strategist? Sure. Genius? No.”
Which member of Kiss has the higher net worth?
Although Stanley is adamant that Simmons isn’t great at marketing, Simmons is still much more wealthy than Stanley. Celebrity Net Worth says Simmons has a net worth of $400 million. On the other hand, Celebrity Net Worth reports Stanley has a net worth of $200 million. While Stanley takes issue with how Simmons presents himself, Simmons still seems to be a savvy businessman.