Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dead Celebrities Make Better Advertising Spokesmen

John Lennon and Marilyn Monroe both made "comebacks" to pitch the Citroën automobile in 2010.
Over the years, celebrities who are no longer with us have been appearing in advertisements, either as spokesmen or "atmosphere" in commercials that feature several of them.  While there is definitely a creepy element to this, there are benefits as well.  Benefits?  How is that possible?

Here's John Lennon in a Citroën commercial.

Well, first of all, the ad agency and the client won't have to worry about the celebrity not showing up or hiding in his/her dressing room having a tantrum--or a bottle of Jack Daniels. 

Chris Farley "returned" for this ad campaign in 2006.
They also won't demand as much of a salary as when they were alive.  And the sponsor won't have to worry about perks and a fancy dressing room.  Dead celebrities are indeed popular, but don't command the money that they once did.
Argos, the British general goods store, "recruited" crooner Bing Crosby to promote their Christmas 2010 catalog.
When you "hire" a dead celebrity, there is instant credibility.  After all, if Bing Crosby advertises Argos, shouldn't everyone shop there?  The client doesn't have to worry about whether or not a star is "overbooked" and thus not available.  Plus there is an ever-growing catalog of dead celebrities who are "available" to pitch products and services.

Tough guy Steve McQueen has been "hired" to sell Ford cars.
When you hire a dead celebrity to push a product or service, you are guaranteed that he or she will not do anything embarrassing that will be reported in the mass media that will adversely effect sales.  How many companies have hired Lindsey Lohan or Britney Spears to pitch products?  But that will change when they are six feet under.  Then their antics can be controlled--and you will see them selling everything from whiskey to birth control products.   

This is an effective way to use dead celebrities in advertising.  All four of them--Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Belushi and River Phoenix--died from drug abuse, which makes the use of their photos meaningful to the message of the ad for Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

Dead celebrities are much easier to direct.  They don't argue with the director about "motivation" and other actor crap.  If you want Cary Grant standing among a bunch of cartoon insects, he won't give you any lip about it.  And they don't forget dialogue or say the wrong words.  Either the words coming out of their mouths exist on film and video already, or technology can make them say whatever is needed for the product.
The late John Wayne "appeared" in a commercial for Coors beer.

What kind of products will this guy be selling soon?

Copyright (C) 2011 Eric Brothers. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Dead celebrities! Now you're talking! I have no problem with the families of dead celebrities licensing their deceased love one for a few bucks. Good for them. I hope my family does it to me after I bite the big one... provided I achieve a greater fame between now and then.

    (My blog is jam packed with dead celebrities.)

  2. Shouldn't Joan Rivers be included here? F5


I look forward to reading your comments.