Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My name is Joe, and I endorse this product.

Celebrities and well-known people have been endorsing products since the beginning of television (or if you consider radio the precursor to television, long before the beginning of television). One thing I've always wondered though, why do celebrities do it? Admittedly, it probably depends on the celebrity, I mean your solid B-list celebrity probably genuinely could use the extra income it provides... so we'll forget about those. But pick someone rich enough that they shouldn't really need to do commercials for the money. In recent memory I recall Donald Trump hawking Domino's Pizza. Do I really believe that The Donald says to the wife "you know, let's order some pizza tonight" from his Manhattan penthouse, and even if he did want pizza, would he order that mass-produced cardboard that comes out of the Domino's ovens? Not in a million years. But surely he can't be needing the cash (though maybe to him, every dollar counts, so that measly $500,000 he gets from Domino's to act like a buffoon on national TV commercials is money in the bank)?

Enough about Trump, what about the new commercials for Campbell's Select soup with John Lithgow? Personally, I think the commercial where he breaks out into a spontaneous showtune about soup is absolutely hilarious. It's a great commercial, though I'd never buy the product. (Somehow I liken eating soup out of a box to drinking wine out of a box... just add "Mc" in front of the name.) Does John Lithgow need the money? Perhaps, though being the star of a top-rated sitcom for a few years (which is still in syndication somewhere, I'm sure) must leave a bit of cashola in the ol' pocketbook. Does he actually like the soup? Probably, but who doesn't like soup?

No, I think there is a commonality here that we have yet to explore. Celebrities are famous only as long as they remain in the minds of the public as a whole. What has Lithgow done since his sitcom? Can you name a single show he's been in? I can't, though I'm sure there are some. But what better way to get your face back on the screen and back into the viewers minds than by doing a cheesy TV commercial... one where everyone talks to their friends and goes "did you SEE that commercial with so-and-so... can you believe he did that?" It's perfect. Has anyone forgotten about Trump yet? No, probably not, but like him or not, he's a very smart man and knows business and how the public thinks. He probably thinks of his Domino's commercial solely in terms of keeping his name and face out there in the public. As long as he's still a star, people won't soon forget him, so it's time well invested (and he can buy a few pizzas with the chunk of change they gave him).

So by the same concept, as long as I keep blogging, people won't forget that I exist and people will keep reading. I'll be a Z-list celebrity yet!

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