On Sunday afternoon, Kylie Jenner quelled months of speculation surrounding her rumored pregnancy, confirming once and for all both the existence of her pregnancy and the birth of her child.
Initial word of the pregnancy broke in late September and sent the web into a wild (although not unexpected) frenzy. We waited with bated breath for Jenner to release a statement, send us a sign, drop us a hint—anything that would help validate the bombshell news.
Alas, months went by and nary a Jenner nor Kardashian would comment on the reports.
But on Feb. 4, hours before the Super Bowl, the familial silence was broken and we got almost all of the answers we’d been looking for.
Jenner first released a statement on her Instagram account, justifying the months of radio silence.
“I’m sorry for keeping you in the dark through all the assumptions,” she began. “I understand you’re used to me bringing you along on all my journeys. My pregnancy was one I chose not to do in front of the world. I knew for myself I needed to prepare for this role of a lifetime in the most positive, stress-free, and healthy way I knew how. There was no gotcha moment, no big paid reveal I had planned. I knew my baby would feel every stress and every emotion so I chose to do it this way for my little life and our happiness.”
The new mom went on to describe the last nine months, writing, “Pregnancy has been the most beautiful, empowering, and life-changing experience I’ve had in my entire life and I’m actually going to miss it. I appreciate my friends and especially my family for helping me make this special moment as private as we could. My beautiful and healthy baby girl arrived Feb. 1 and I just couldn’t wait to share this blessing. I’ve never felt love and happiness like this—I could burst! Thank you for understanding.”
Shortly after posting the message, Jenner shared a teaser video offering a “glimpse of the last nine months,” and linked out to the full-length piece in her Insta’ bio.
The ensuing birth announcement (which has been viewed nearly 28 million times in the past 24 hours), is an 11-and-a-half minute ode to Jenner’s pregnancy, beginning with Kris Jenner’s 1997 delivery of Kylie herself and journeying throughout the past nine months, peppered with intimate clips of Kylie and boyfriend Travis Scott, testimonials from friends and family, and even footage from the delivery room.
The nation’s been ablaze with Kylie baby chatter ever since the video went live, (I’ve texted “SHOOK” in reference to the news more than once). But the reveal is much more than fodder for celebrity gossipmongers and Keeping Up With the Kardashians viewers—it’s testament to the power of good PR.
Mallory Blair, the cofounder and CEO of Small Girls PR, took to Twitter soon after Jenner’s announcement to outline the intricacy of the reality star’s super-secretive pregnancy and comprehensive announcement.
Blair wrote that the lack of word from Kylie and Co. built demand and fostered intrigue—much like the PR behind Kylie’s multi-million dollar beauty biz.
“Rather than just come out with the news ‘I’m pregnant!’ and let the news cycle fade until the baby arrived, the family sustained attention and consideration for almost a year by having their fans—and then their fans’ networks—increasingly speculate, debate, and discuss, over a continuous nine month stint,” Mallory told InStyle.
“By neither confirming nor denying the pregnancy, it smartly left room for everyone to have a theory and build community and continuous conversations around those theories. As people casually propose and debate ideas of their own, it stokes curiosities so that a wider audience catches wind and starts to feels invested in, or at least curious about, the details of the news once it finally arrives. In this case the news was a baby.”
Blair says the lack of confirmation also limited bad press, explaining that while an unborn baby can be seen as an easy target, negative press concerning a newborn comes off as insensitive and cruel—a journalistic line in the sand.
Mallory’s third point takes into account the timing of the statement. “Announcing hours before Super Bowl stokes vitality,” she writes, pointing to the crowd mentality of such an event and the likeliness that those gathered together will discuss current events. “It also creates brand alignment with a major, national cultural moment." Is Kylie Jenner’s baby the national icon we didn’t know we needed?
Lastly, Blair addressed the medium, explaining that by releasing a video Jenner wasn’t confined by a character limit, and that her choice to document her full pregnancy lessened the blow for fans that felt left out.
Speaking as a PR professional, Mallory expects that Kylie’s next steps will reflect the same careful strategy. “I'd guess that she'll parse out the remaining assets as exclusives which will continue to get her leverage in how her story is shared and which of those stories receive the most attention,” she said. “For example, offering the first official baby photo or her first Q&A verses a first broadcast interview are all things that can be used to set the terms of what is and is not shared as a condition of the exclusive—even down to quote approvals.”
Only time will tell ...