On Confusing Celeb Endorsements.
Being a celebrity must be great. Not only do you get big paychecks and people to cook/clean/dress/schedule you, you get paid to say you like things. You just show up to a photo or video shoot (or maybe even just send in a headshot, I’m not sure how this showbiz stuff all works), smile and act like you like a product, and ca-ching! Another five or six or even seven figures goes into your account (here I go again, assuming stars have bank accounts like us normal people). And unless the product causes some disease in children or is related to something NSF-network TV jokes, there’s no wrong thing to endorse. Pretty envy-inspiring racket, right?
But since it’s a business transaction (sorry if you’re a bit “green” to this, but it’s all about sales, not the celebrity’s deep emotional similarity to you based on the fact you use the same toothpaste), the laws of supply and demand exist. If a celebrity endorses everything, they are making themselves in tremendous supply…and cheaper. Therefore, I’ve concluded there must be some sort of endorsement rationale, a tipping point of saying yay or nay to pinning your approval to a product. Further conclusion: it seems like most celebs make seemingly common sense decisions. And then there some outliers. These are the commercials you watch for all the (hilariously) wrong reasons. It’s like having a peanut butter and shoe sandwich. Like, what?!
That’s pretty much what my reaction was to this Shannon Doherty Education Connection spot. I was expecting something like Proactiv (is there a celebrity they haven’t had?) or an animal charity, not the site known more for disturbingly catchy jingles more than what they actually do (which has something to do with college and matching and bad choreography, I think). What would Dylan think? I’m sure he’d be supportive of your decision to get a college degree, but shilling it online for the one of the leaders in infomercial cheese? Even Brandon would raise an eyebrow to that. (Andrea would totally love it and probably ask if you could get her screen time.)
I don’t get it. It just doesn’t fit. And while Ms. Doherty hasn’t graced many silver or small screens lately, it’s not like her career is washed up or that she’s lost cultural relevance yet. Sadly, she isn’t the only one. This Megan Mullally I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter song and dance (literally) has bothered me since it debuted years ago. The woman has four SAG awards and two Emmys and can really sing. Oh, and she’s freaking hilarious. Why oh why did she chose to endorse imitation butter?! Maybe the offer came over while she and Nick Offerman were reliving some Ron & Tammy-style drunken shenanigans. That or demon possession. Those are the only possible explanations.
Perhaps it’s all a joke on us, then, a public so accustomed to celebrity testimonials and personalized pitches. Maybe the only way to break through the clutter is to appeal to our natural discomfort when faced with oddities. If so, who’s the mastermind behind it? I’m doubting it’s an ad exec, CMO or talent agent. I’m hoping it’s the celebrities themselves. Put yourself in their shoes. You’ve done the red carpets. You’ve tackled your share of media junkets and late night appearances. You walk out the door expecting to get recognized. Tons of companies would love to have you. Maybe you select imitation butter or online college search sites or cash advance shops just to shake it up. You know, keep it fresh. Entertain yourself. Put the joke on them.
Or maybe it is just all about the paycheck.