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Resurrected Celebrities Hawk Everything from Booze to Chocolate: The Creeptastic Trend We Wish Would Stop

The message of celebrity endorsements is, at the heart, quite simple: Eating/drinking/using this product will make you more like your favorite celebrity — charming, successful, popular, and…long dead?

We’ve recently noticed (and been totally creeped out by) a trend of brands resurrecting dead icons to hawk everything from beer to chocolate. While it’s hardly a new phenomenon for marketers to utilize the images of legendary superstars to sell products, advancements in technology (and, apparently, nerve) have allowed advertisers to take the concept to a new, decidedly shiver-inducing level.

The one that jumped out at us the most (i.e. made us actually gawk open-mouthed at our TV and then mutter the non-acronym version of WTF under our breath), was this spot for Dove chocolate, in which Audrey Hepburn is brought back to life by a frighteningly-detailed CGI process.

Sure, it’s impeccably done, and it’s virtually impossible to tell which parts came from the movie “Roman Holiday” and which parts were dubbed in, but are we alone in feeling that there’s something inherently bizarre and kind of icky about the whole thing?

Next up is this new spot for Jack Daniels featuring Frank Sinatra, which, while it certainly gets the point across that Old Blue Eyes was a top-notch gentleman full of class, it makes us wonder about the classiness of exploiting a deceased person’s affinity for your product.

And, lastly, is a Bavaria beer spot that’s got em all — every celeb with fan clubs that swear they’re still out there somewhere: Elvis, Tupac, Marilyn, and more. While this one at least doesn’t take itself too seriously or try to make it seem that the icons in question would actually have pushed its product, it still raises the issue, as do all of these ads, of whether its right to create celebrity endoresments that the celebrities themselves can’t actually endorse or approve. There was recently an interesting article in the LA Times that discussed the issue and related laws in detail, and while the legal and moral issues are complex, we have to agree with one simple line from that article: “Well, yick.”

What do you think, readers? No harm, no foul? Or are you left feeling as weird about this concept as we were?

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