Has anyone beyond the age of, say, 15, ever really rushed out to buy shoes, cereals, soft drinks or something stronger because they spotted one of our society's growing census of synthetic celebrities endorsing them? Didn't think so. Still, the sale of promiscuous endorsements continues as if in a parallel commercial dimension divorced from earthly reality like Enron finances.
It's understandable that people famous for being, well, famous are willing to accept millions to appear on TV and in newspapers and magazines using, eating, drinking, wearing or admiring something for sale. What's incomprehensible is that anyone who finished eighth grade actually believes that stuff. And that any company accountable to sentient stockholders could justify such expenses. Is Shaq that good or large because of his allegedly favorite candy bar? Or his size 22 shoes? How often do you buy size 22s?
Now, the Los Angeles City Council is pondering this endorsement epidemic and likes what it sees. Of course, the attraction is money. L.A., like many states, families and a federal government we know, has more money outgoing than incoming. The obvious solution: more incoming.
It's easy enough to ban Pepsi and sell only Coke products on city property, for a 10-liter fee. Helmeted LAPD officers, their thumbs pointed up, could prefer Harley-Davidson motorcycles for a magnum fee, and ticket every Honda bike in sight. The mayor could, for an amazing charge, frequent certain restaurants and praise them according to a costly scale ("Outstanding!" costing way more than "Very good"). Maybe also rent out the mayor to deliver birthday desserts. Why not milk more money renaming 1st, 2nd and 3rd streets for vain richies? But the makers of exactly what products -- besides sunglasses on the forehead and push-up bras -- would pay a fortune to hook up with the City of Angels? Sun block maybe, though not these cloudy days. "Drink Arrowhead, when your river dries up like L.A.'s." And properly paying plastic surgeons might purchase an official declaration making L.A. "a wrinkle-free zone."
"Heinz Ketchup -- It moves as slowly as L.A. freeways." Or eyedrops named SmoCal for smoky days when wildfires surround the city? One image ad could show Dennis Rodman, Robert Blake and Michael Jackson waving -- "L.A., where troubled rich people come to play." Or what if we sold naming rights for City Hall annually? For a handsome sum and some free broadloom we could have the Carpet City City Hall. The trick is to sell L.A.'s sunny, hip image to others elsewhere without actually encouraging one more person to drive here.