Eight Great Commercials With Writers As Pitchmen

A recent New York Times Book Review essay on author brand-building cited Ernest Hemingway's and John Steinbeck's stints as a spokespersons for Ballantine Ale. (Not mentioned was The Poseidon Adventure author Paul Gallico, who appeared in the same series of print ads for the beer.) Of course, they weren’t the first or last authors to shill. Mark Twain’s name and likeness were used (not always with his permission) to sell everything from shirt collars to passenger trains. Émile Zola, H.G. Wells, Alexandre Dumas, Henrik Ibsen and Jules Verne all provided testimonials for the cocaine-infused French elixir Vin Mariani. More than a century later, Allen Ginsberg and [...]


Catching Up on the Worst Super Bowl Ads

Since the Super Bowl is invisible to me, I didn't see any of its fabled advertisements—including this ad for Groupon here, that has apparently enraged everyone everywhere, what with its fairly completely misplayed sarcasm and tonedeafness and offbase first world self-mockery. (On the upside: at least now "everyone" has heard of Groupon. I guess.) The rest of the crop are rounded up here; gosh I did not miss very much in consuming important brand-related information, did I!