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Ellen in New York: Pizza, rice cream and her trusty American Express

ellen on amex.jpgThis is more advertising than media, but I happened to catch a bit of “Ellen” this morning (as I was discovering to my horror that my DVR had failed to record Peter Rubin on “Jeopardy!” last night but don’t you worry, that only made us get an even better scoop for you) – and looky here, she’s in New York City! As I tuned in she was just settling in to a big ol’ pizza pie at Lombardi’s, where apparently the extra garlic is FREE! Score! Then she went up the street to (I think) that rice-pudding place on I believe Spring St. (just Googled: yep, “Rice to Riches” on Spring – the one I always pass and mutter “rice pudding? How does that place stay in business?”). I’d actually never been inside for that reason, but they showed a very tasty-looking array of what looked like ice cream, so what do I know. Ellen tried a whole bunch, and then had a moment of such incredible cross-promotion that my mouth actually dropped open: Scooping for customer behind the bar, she waved a black piece of plastic in the air and cried “A round for everyone! On the American Express One card!”

Which is kind of a crazy moment, because here she is pimping the rice puddding place on behalf of NBC, and in the middle of it she sneaks in a promo for her other employer, American Express. Which really made me want to see her contract with NBC. How does that work? Is that considered product placement? Does NBC get a cut? Does Amex pay extra for that or is it a freebie? What if MasterCard had purchased the 30-second spot right after this segment? Who thinks they’d have a right to be miffed?

As usual, I have no answers, just observations, and also, opinions: because later she had Billy Joel on and I’m sorry, music snobs, but I freakin’ LOVE Billy Joel. An American poet, just like Bruce (sez this Canadian). He played “Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway” (who remembers how often that was used in headlines after the blackout?) and he was amazing – his voice is still so clear and strong. I must confess I got a few goosebumps. I love Billy Joel. So he married a 22-year old. Who cares, clearly she’s always a woman to him. I guess she’s got a smile that heals him. Which is good, because we need him well to keep on making beautiful music, or at least go on playing his old stuff on TV shows.

Then he held up a slice of pizza from Lombardi’s and a bottle of ros&#233 and said “Meet you anytime you want…at Lombardi’s, where they accept the Amercian Express One card!” Just kidding but that would really have been egregious.

UPDATE: Oh, that’s hilarious. A helpful tipster just wrote to point out that I was watching a rerun. Duh. Apparently the Ellen-fest was last month. No wonder that rice pudding place is still in business! Whatever, excuse to put up Billy Joel soundclips, and the advertising question is still current. So there.

UPDATE to the UPDATE: Aha – mystery of how the rice pudding place stayed in business solved! Apparently it had another source of income: a $21 million-a-year sports gambling ring. Hm. You can pay off one heck of an Amex bill with that!

Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) [Billy Joel]

Other Billy Joel Audioclips after the jump, just because.


Random and lovingly-compiled list of Billy Joel songs. I’m so ambitious for a juvenile.


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