T-Shirts, Machetes and Kondoms, Oh My

While ticket sales and concert revenue might be down at Live Nation, the company recently touted its e-commerce efforts as a winning sector of its business. And soon, to borrow a phrase from the pop culture lexicon, it may be bi-winning, too.

The New York Daily News reported March 6 that actor/meme Charlie Sheen personally told the tabloid he’s teaming up with the concert promoter / merchandiser to sell a line of gnarly T-shirts bearing the tiger-blooded one’s likeness.  By the end of following day, E! News reported that a deal has indeed been struck, and quoted a Live Nation exec describing the “winning” talks. And in between, Sheen got fired by his studio.

 “Being fired has only made him more popular because he is standing up for himself. He is a folk hero,” Joey Scoleri, Live Nation’s Senior VP for Tour Marketing & Promotion, was quoted as saying by E! News “We’re hoping to have some of the items for sale as soon as next week. It’s all coming together really quickly. He’s got a lot of brilliant ideas.”

The range of merchandise will reportedly include mugs, T-shirts and badges with some of Charlie’s most suddenly famous catch phrases, such as “winning”, emblazoned on them.  Other entertainment websites suggested the meetings could culminate in a tour, not unlike Conan O’Brien’s highly successful comedy outing after infamously losing his late night TV show to Jay Leno and the rise of “Team Coco.”

“It’s huge,” Sheen told the Daily News the previous day. A Live Nation spokeswoman would only tell Pollstar “we have no comment” when asked to confirm the alleged merch deal.  But a day may as well be week in Internet time, because that was before Sheen was officially fired by Warner Bros. from his “Two And A Half Men” sitcom and his already bizarre behavior reached new heights — literally.

Sheen, accompanied by a woman identified by tabloids as one of his “goddesses” — which lately has been a changing cast of “models” and porn actresses — appeared at Live Nation’s offices in Beverly Hills, Calif., for “a top-secret meeting with some old friends,” according to TMZ.com. The gossip site published video of Sheen, waving a machete, slugging from a bottle and accompanied by a small entourage, from the roof of Live Nation headquarters in Beverly Hills, Calif.

TMZ may often be taken with a grain of salt. But the report appears to be verified by Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard, who tweeted, “So @charliesheen was on our office roof waving a machete today. This was not the weirdest part of my day.” The machete was a “prized possession” of a Live Nation exec who saw a potential photo-op, according to E! Online.

Sheen isn’t the only one touting a new product with a merchandising assist from Live Nation. KISS and Condomania announced “the first FDA-approved ‘Picture Condoms’ featuring a full-color image right on the latex!”

It might also be the first time a product marketing blitz by Gene Simmons has seen its message lost in somebody else’s media frenzy.

A statement on the band’s website proclaims: “The innovation continues now on a whole new level, featuring an image of Gene Simmons’ iconic fully extended tongue running down the length of the lubricated latex condom.”

In the words of Sheen himself, Simmons might #PlanBetter next time.