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The media has been a-buzz about Miley Cyrus’s performance at the VMA awards. She rocked the world with a ride on a foam finger, and “twerking” with singer Robin Thicke, among other antics. The Urban Dictionary defines twerking as “The rhythmic gyrating of the lower fleshy extremities in a lascivious manner with the intent to elicit sexual arousal or laughter in ones intended audience.)

Many, with deep consternation want to know who will replace their child’s, mainly daughters, role model, now that Hannah Montana appears to feel more at home in a strip club than the family supper table. And families feel let down.

The reality is that the Miley we know is not a real person to us. Most of the world doesn’t know her personally, what fills her with joy, what causes her sadness. To most of us, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus is a well crafted brand. According to the American Marketing Association Dictionary, a brand is the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers.” Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus is a commodity to be consumed. And as long as we are consumers of her merchandise and media, it is specious to say we care for Miley as a person.

There is a large market for youthful, wholesome exuberance. Parents, desperate to be backed up by contemporary culture, turn to Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus to agree with and promote their world view of “Family values”. And under the careful tutelage and management of her father, Billy Ray, she has sold a lot of swag. While the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus target audience is not monetarily self sufficient, they wield tremendous power to coerce money from parental pockets.

Miley appears to have thrown that all away as she focuses on her new image, her new brand. Corporations, companies, churches and celebrities have rebranded themselves to combat sagging sales, open up new markets, and to avoid being typecast. Companies like Coca Cola, Apple, and McDonalds have successfully rebranded themselves, many times over. Companies that have not successfully rebranded themselves are JC Penney’s, RIM Blackberry. “If you can’t make money with a brand, it’s not really valuable,” Interbrand CEO,Josh Feldman said.

Miley Cyrus rebranded herself at the VMA awards. Granted. there were hints of her rebranding going on before the event, but in a solitary performance she successfully moved away from a market that was stable and lucrative into a market that is volatile and fickle. Only time will tell if Miley’s rebranding paid off. At this time she has a pretty distraught fan-base (market), that won’t be coming back, unless there is such a thing as re-virginizing in the music industry. And it doesn’t look like she is backing down anytime soon. Her performance at the VMA appears to be very calculated.

In the meantime there is a large audience at a loss for who their children’s next role models will be and where they can direct their disposable income. This market is waiting for a enterprising, ambitious and talented teenager to fit the vacuum that Miley left. They are searching for a girl to convince them that in our over-sexualized culture she stands as a paragon of innocence and decency. If a girl can successfully brand herself as such, there is a lot of money to be made.