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Neil Patrick Harris, Publicity Phenomenon

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Pulling a vintage “brand” out of the closet, so to speak, is like trying get around via jetpack. It’s flashy, expensive, with a small chance of success.

Seeing the “What Would NPH Do?” movie poster stopped me dead in my tracks this weekend. IMHO, Neil Patrick Harris, re-branded “NPH” by the overzealous and abusive cop in the stoner-classic Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is one of the best turnaround stories of this decade.

There’s no mention of the actual title of the movie “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” or Kal “Namesake” Penn, and NPH gets his own URL: WhatWouldNPHDO.com. Cool.

Check out Harris’s history. Spot the wilderness years post-Doogie Howser, followed by his meteoric rise. Perhaps it’s more management than PR, since his publicist at PMK has not responded to my call or email. The tipping point could be his starring role in Cabaret (was it also for John “Mr. Romijn” Stamos?), followed by his hyper-straight (HYPRSTR8, my new term) roles as Barny Stinson on TV, and the lap-dance loving parody of himself in Harold & Kumar.

There was a stumble in his publicity concerning his sexuality, though he quickly went from persistent “he’s not of that persuasion” quotes from his old publicist, to an appearance on Ellen Degeneres and a “very content gay man” in People. We’ll update our story when we confirm this is why Harris moved over to PMK.

We love when celebs have the humility and sense of humor needed to fire up their image, or keep themselves on top. For examples, see the ease in which George Clooney handled his scooter crash this summer, and the resulting breach of his privacy when he went to the hospital. Or the Lance Armstrong / Matthew McConaughey BFF training montage that captivated the Internets for months.

Ride that unicorn for all its worth NPH!

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