Sunday, December 17, 2006

I have a glossy addiction and I take a (probably unhealthy) number of magazines, including some interior design publications. I don't read much of the text - it's more a design direction I sort of keep my finger on, as it is of interest to me, and I mostly just skim through them once, each.

This has been a slow-dawning realization, but something is really bugging me these days.

Tonight when flipping through the new House & Garden, I saw a circa 1940s photo of Walt Disney. I paused and wondered why Walt Disney would be in an ad in a decor magazine in 2006. Well, I'm glad I asked me that. It appears that the furniture manufacturer Drexel Heritage is going to unleash on the consuming public a collection of furniture in 2007 called the
Walt Disney Signature Collection. Turns out this furniture was "inspired" by Disney.

This brought to mind the ad campaign that Thomasville furniture began in 2003 for Bogart™ of which they say: Like the screenstar himself, Bogart™ from Thomasville is cosmopolitan but never pretentious.

Bogey, pretentious? How's about when he appeared in The Barefoot Contessa, set in tropical climes, as the Contessa (Ava Gardner) and other rustics ran about barefoot and scantily clad, and meanwhile, Bogey sported a trench coat? Nah, he was never pretentious. But I'm chasing rabbits, aren't I?

It's so nice that a furniture company thought of ways to help you Bogart™ your joint. Like that's a bad thing.

Anyway, there's a passel of products out there sporting the likeness and/or name of dead icons to shill things created long after the death of these celebrities. Hell, call it the Casablanca collection or "Play it again, Sam," or anything else - but using the name taints the legacy of a great artist, in my opinion. I just think it's crappy.

I noticed several years ago that there's a fairly sexy line of lingerie that sports the name Marilyn Monroe. She has a wine too. Considering she was famed for not wearing underwear, it's a little odd to have a collection of undies sporting her name. And given the sad chemical nature of her demise, it seems more than a little ironic that her comely visage with her eyes at half-staff would be festooned on a bottle of an intoxicant. But that's just me--jaded cynic that I am.

Now, Raymond Burr who played Perry Mason had his own vineyard in Healdsburg California and his own wine label prior to his death some years back. His partner has continued that company, and in the case of a product a celebrity originated or endorsed in their lifetime, I have no problem with the heirs of the estate continuing in that vein.

Thomasville and Drexel Heritage are known to produce high-quality furniture, but nonetheless, I think this is an icky trend.

Oh, and speaking of semi-icky advertising - I was watching the extra footage and interviews from Top Chef on, and before each clip they made me watch a 15 second ad spot for toilet paper. Well, if you eat, you HAVE to poop, so it makes sense, but it's a little too close to home to be called tasteful to advertise potty-ish-ness on a cooking program, don't you think?

Actually, the whole commercial thing is why I DVR everything - I can't get past the tremendous feeling of insult and resentment I get when I see what networks and their advertisers put out there and expect us to respond to. Well, I'm responding, but not in the way they hoped, I bet. Grrr.

That is all.
For now.


Anonymous said...

I kind of get Bogey, but what the heck is an inspired-by-Disney furniture? Like the ones in Snow White? Sleeping Beauty, or the rustic feel of Jungle Book? What?

Anonymous said...

but...but...but...they don't have a Disney inspired freezer!

I guess mouse ears would be a bit pretentious. At least it's not painted in non-toxic pastels that are easily scrubbable and disinfectable.

bah. It'd clash with my Mission/Arts and Crafts style. Not interested anyway.

I think the whole Dead Celebrity marketing thing is creepy to begin with. It's not like I'm going to be more inclined to buy John Wayne cigarettes or a Buick endorsed by Jayne Mansfield because of its' safety features.

As far as wine, didja know Fess Parker has a vinyard and label? We had a wonderful Riesling at The Landmark awhile back, and we've been picking up his lables wherever we find them. Very nice stuff.


Just Another Old Geezer said...

Phlemmy said "Actually, the whole commercial thing is why I DVR everything - I can't get past the tremendous feeling of insult and resentment I get when I see what networks and their advertisers put out there and expect us to respond to. Well, I'm responding, but not in the way they hoped, I bet. Grrr. "

Been using a DVR for 9 years or so. I refuse to watch anything with commercials without recording it. And figuring about 15 minutes of commercial per hour of programming, you get a lot of your life back, huh? And gotta pee and get a sammich? Hit the pause button. Wanta see it again? Replay. It's great. I think DVRs are the best thing since electric can openers.

And you know what else pisses me off? And I mean big time. The fact that the damned networks let sporting events control the schedule. How in the hell can it take nearly 4 hours to play a football game that has a 60 minute clock? I know, I know the true fans don't mind I guess. But it really pisses me off when a football game makes everything else run late and half of 60 Minutes or what ever is recorded in front of Cold Case and the last bits of Cold Case are missing. Well, I showed them. I start the recording on time and record for 2 hours.

phlegmfatale said...

meg - I dunno - I think it's terrible to use their images in that way. Not that neither one was a product per se. I just hope Hello Kitty doesn't die within my lifetime, because her stuff is great and someone else would probably mess it all up!

rabbit - Yes, creepy, dead celebrity "endorsements." you know, somewhere I SAW that Fess Parker has a vineyard - perhaps it was when I was in wine country a couple years ago - I'll check it out - sounds nice.

myron - Hallelujah. I have to say I've never been one to watch commercial television until the DVR, really, in my adult life. I've never seen an episode of Friends, and I've only seen a part of a Seinfeld episode twice - the same episode- what a coincidence - it was "maybe the dingo ate your baby" thingie. Anyway. The Simpsons, all that shit - just passed me by because I couldn't abide the soul-sucking ignorance of commercials. Now I watch a program at least 15-20 minutes after it begins and I just whiz through the commercials and often catch up to live programming by the very end. This makes award shows much better too, and then there's the fact that you don't have to miss social engagements because of a program you are dying to see. Yay.
You know, a relative told me recently they'd been to a Cowboys game and that they understood it had to be done, but that it was annoying when play would suddenly stop for commercials and everyone would just stand around. I realize that athletic pursuits differ from dramatic performances, but when you're in front of all those people and pawing the earth to get out there and do your thing, it must be extremely exhausting to stand around - I'll bet there are some players (not many, but some) who run out of adrenaline by the time the game is actually over. Games might have a very different outcome if they were played through rather than stopped for commercial B/S.

phlegmfatale said...

g bro - that is SO weird - I've been thinking of the 13th floor elevators ALL morning. Yeah, it's bad that commercial entities will truck with the good associations the public has with these long-ded icons in order to make a fast buck. Great if it's exposing the public to something obscure that was brilliant and unnoticed in its time, but otherwise, meh.

Anonymous said...

How cool that gbro has come over here! I hope he followed the link I posted on my site. He has the same wicked sense of humor you do.
As for the commercialization of screen icons...evidently anyone/thing is for sale. Marilyn's heirs are dead I guess, so that's how they can get away with using her likeness. I just wish everyone buying those undies would snap to the fact she was a size 12/14 at the height of her popularity! That was one LUSH body, built for comfort NOT speed, and no implants either!
To comment on Rabbit's comment, John Wayne cigs, LMAO! Have you heard Denis Leary's routine on cigs and red meat? Ultra profane, but funny as hell.
How about some other celebrity endorsements...say Marlon Brando shilling for Slimfast, or Sonny Bono for K-2 skis and snow boards? Maybe Teddy Kennedy and his son for a Safe Driving Company to finance their next campaign? How about Freddy Mercury selling Comdoms? or would that be in bad taste?

phlegmfatale said...

hollyb - Yeah, gbro asked me to marry him in the next life and I think I will. I think I've earned a lifetime with a sick man who is on my wavelength. I wish I knew where his blog is, because I'd haunt it. Yup, Marilyn was a celestial fruitcup, for sure.
I didn't see the Leary routine, but I really like him. Oh, and I think so much bad taste has been done that why should anyone stop there? You left out JohnJohn Kennedy for lightweight aircraft, Michael Hutchence for Ritz-Carlton Hotels. The list goes on and on.

Anonymous said...

The one that fried me was tequila with Frida Kahlo's name and face on it.
I hear yah, sister.

Zelda said...

The Audry Hepburn GAP commercial made me want to spit. And I resent Marilyn being so overused. They're making her cartoonish, and I really hate that.

I'd be okay with the furniture collections inspired by various celebrity personalities, but the furniture should speak for itself, not the manufacturer telling you what their furniture should inspire down to the last false detail. said...

I guess the Government saved me from the advertising game - my degree was in advertising and marketing, but I was only in the business for 5 years. I got a job in Oak Ridge and went with telecommunications instead. Otherwise, I been just a guilty as the agencies are today of talking down to everyone.

No panties huh? Somehow that's much hotter to me than the two twits making the rounds these days.

FHB said...

I HATE comercials. My VCR skips past them. Miraculous thing. Seems they put as much comercial advetising on as show, ten minutes of show, then eight minutes of crap, then ten minutes of show. Kills me.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of raising anyone's ire, I happened on your blog because I was actually looking for the Disney signature collection. While I would agree with most of the sentiments posted by others, the reason I was looking for this is that, unlike so many so-called inspired-by items, these are based upon the furniture that really was in Walt's studio office. (Exact copies, no. We would never get that. And yes, I have seen photos of Walt's office.)
Maybe as far as this discussion goes, it is irrelevant that this collection has any basis in fact and it simply serves as a jumping off point for criticism of this particular vein of advertising. If so, critique on.