Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas


April 28, 2014

Celebrity endorsements a pain

Corsicana — Celebrity endorsements provide a very lucrative income for famous entertainers and athletes. Sometimes, one has to wonder whether the celebrity actually uses the product or is espousing its quality just for the bucks.

For instance, who would have ever guessed that Joe Theisman had such problems with frequent tinkling that it interfered with his ability to broadcast football games and kept him up at night. And who would have guessed he would go on TV and talk about it. TMI, Joe. Of course, he cured all that by using Super Beta Prostate. Well, maybe...I found material on Mr. Computer that indicates there are all kinds of class action lawsuits against the manufacturer and Joe himself. One suit alleges he never had a dysfunctional prostate and never actually used the product.

Now, this pitch is followed up by Tony “Goose” Siragusa, a huge ex-NFL defensive lineman, who is hawking disposable diapers “...just for men...” in case the Super Beta Prostate doesn’t work. If you watch ESPN at all, you must have seen these very annoyingly-repetitious ads where he is in a bathroom, handing a new toilet seat over to a henchman and telling the camera that he is teaching men “...discreet protection...”and “ to guard their manhood...” Goose, have you no shame?”

With even more in the gastroenterology arena, how about everybody’s favorite backwoods hillbilly, Larry the Cable Guy, who purports to be a true-blue consumer of Prilosec OTC which allows him to eat/drink whatever he wants and and experience “zero heartburn.” Whether Old Larry TCG is punctuating his remarks with a fried chicken leg or tearing figure- eights in the mud with a pick-em-up the size of an Abrams Battle Tank, he manages to “Git-R- Done” and never “...get heartburn in the first place!.” Meanwhile, everyone else at the picnic has severe heartburn over the fact he has slung mud all over them as well as the watermelon and corn-on-the-cob.

Another lucrative activity is actors (usually legitimate, well-established, but aging actors) who lend their voices to “voiceover” commercials. If you are like me, you get curious when a voice sounds familiar but you just can’t place it.

Here’s one for The Good Wife. Her idol, Tom Selleck, has a long list of movie and TV credits, but did you know that back in the 1990’s he was the voice of the AT&T “What if you had the technology to...” commercials? In 2007, be became the spokesperson for Florida Orange Juice and had a “Magnum” impact on O.J. sales. Now, he speaks for Coldwell Banker and very convincingly describes the “...personal meaning of home ownership.” He, of course, is the star of “Blue Bloods” and TGW still swoons over Tom every Friday night.

Another orange juice guy is Donald Sutherland. This star of the original “MASH” movie is now a scraggly 79-year old who still has a voice like velvet. When he purrs that, “Simply Orange (my favorite) is...never frozen...never concentrated...never sweetened...simply the most perfect orange juice in the world...,” you just have to believe him. In addition, he is the spokesman for Volvo automobiles and Delta Air Lines. He was also the narrator of the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

How about craggy old Tommy Lee Jones of “The Fugitive” and “Lonesome Dove” fame? I say craggy because, although he is only 68, his leathered face has more cracks, bumps, and pot- holes than those brick streets in downtown Corsicana. However, he has a great baritone voice and he does a slew of hilarious coffee commercials in Japan. In addition, he is that sincere old- timer leaning on that split-rail fence explaining why Ameriprise Financial Services can allow you to “retain your retirement dreams.”

My absolute favorite of the celebrity voiceoverers is Sam Elliott. He is a mere 70-years-old but he also looks like he has had some hard road miles. He has a huge horseshoe mustache and a deep, resonant western drawl that is just a pleasure to listen to. He has played in a ton of movies and TV productions and some of his memorable roles were Wild Bill Hickok, Sam Houston, and Evel Knievel. He is the voice of enterprises like IBM, Kinney Drugs, Union Pacific, and the American Beef Council.

He is especially convincing in the Dodge Ram Truck commercials and the Coors Beer commercials. When you listen to Sam, you can’t help but believe that the Ram is the only heavy duty truck to have and you are un-American if you don’t guzzle that “Rocky Mountain spring water.”

I did not remember until I looked it up, but Sam did the team introductions at Super Bowl XLV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers right there in “Jerry’s Theme Park” in Arlington. He is also the new voice of Smokey Bear who says, “Only YOU can prevent wildflowers!”

I guess I will close this rant now as I need to go “guard my manhood.”

See ya...


Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays.

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