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Page 2 / IDEAS, TRENDS, STYLE AND BUZZ | SoCal Confidential

Face It: Some Images Have More Selling Power

March 15, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

Having to sell the American public on the concept of money is downright hilarious and so is the television commercial for the new Golden Dollar coin.

The spot features a studly modern-day George Washington (an animated coin face on a real actor's body) going about his daily business buying cappuccino, using a vending machine, driving through a toll booth and paying for all the transactions with a new dollar coin (enlarged to saucer size for the TV audience). "It's money," Georgie says in "Swingers"-speak.

But why is Washington flogging the coin when he's not even on it? The Golden Dollar bears the image of Sacajawea, the American Indian guide who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the Pacific Northwest in the early 1800s. So what is the message here? That the feministicon, whose navigational and negotiating skills were essential to the trip's success can't hold her own in an advertising campaign? What does it take for an American woman to be captivating enough to sell a coin? The attributes of a Pamela Anderson Lee or Cindy Crawford?

Swingin' Georgie was chosen for the $14-million ad campaign through market research, according to Jennifer Arnold, a public affairs specialist at the U.S. Mint.

"We found that everyone liked and could relate to George Washington," she said. "We wanted to take a unique, un-government approach. Our hope is that everyone will think money is cool."

It's bad enough that George Washington's quarter put Susan B. Anthony's buck out of business. Now he has to hog Sacajawea's limelight too?

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While getting my daily dose of National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" on the way to work the other day, I heard host Bob Edwards share his latest Net find: the Dull Men's Web site (http://www.dullmen.com). Considering the source, I just had to check it out.

The site bills itself as "a place--in cyberspace where Dull Men can share thoughts and experiences, free from pressures to be 'in and trendy.' "

Features include dull book reviews ("Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House"), dull recipes (how to boil water), dull collections (coat hangers) and dull activities (watching sap drip).

And there's a quiz for those who suspect that they are dull but aren't absolutely sure. Sample questions: "Have you ever had an urge and were you able to get over it?" "Do you like English food?" and "Do you enjoy watching luggage carousels?"

I wonder what urges Bob Edwards, who can liven up the dullest topics, has had to get over. Hmmm. . . .

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The other day I found a gift idea at Fred Segal Santa Monica that is definitely not for the dull at heart: monogrammed toilet paper. Two rolls go for $16.95. At those prices, there's no way I'd spare a square. And if you can spend that kind of money on TP, wouldn't it just be easier to flush your money down the toilet?

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The Web site for MovieFone was incorrect in Tuesday's column. It is http://www.moviefone.com.

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