Privileged as I am to be writing a column in this fine magazine, it’s not really enough. Other sources of income are required to sustain my lifestyle, which includes a heated room with a bed and a refrigeration device. So I offer myself now as a spokesperson for hire, ready and willing to endorse your company’s products and services.
I understand that it’s traditional for spokespeople to be particularly prominent and successful. You don’t want a spokesperson who seems desperate for money (despite the impression left by infomercials starring Richard Simmons or Lynda Carter; chances are they’re just honing their on-camera skills). If the idea is to bathe your product in a borrowed gloss of success, some fame and success would seem a necessary qualification.
But recently that theory has been discredited. More companies are coming to understand the potential drawbacks of the celebrity spokesperson paradigm. Tiger Woods is only the most obvious example of what can go wrong when you hire a representative who dwells in a realm of entitlement most of us will never know. Anyone famous and successful enough to earn tens of millions of endorsement dollars is probably also famous enough to have themselves sexually serviced by a different troupe of nubile circus acrobats every night of the week, should they so choose. And it would seem such people often do.
That same sense of entitlement often leads to a flouting of behavioural norms, such as the traditional taboos against dog fighting, driving your Escalade over a hobo or shooting recent nightclub acquaintances. The National Football League could put together an All-Felon Team that would make The Longest Yard look like a documentary.
Then, too, there are the steps necessary to guarantee athletic success in the era of big-money pro sports. Famous athletes such as Olympic sprinter Marion Jones turn out to be steroid hounds, a fact that may not fit the message of your particular breakfast cereal brand. And consider Wimbledon champ Serena Williams, who threatened to shove a tennis ball down a line judge’s throat. You might be able to build a snack food campaign around that, but it would require finesse.
Now consider the alternative. I offer another way: the strategy I call “Hire a Loser.” Take, for example, the Tiger Woods scenario, where a squeaky-clean product pitcher later turns out to be a full-time horndog. You are not going to have that problem with me. It’s not for lack of trying: I’m always out there playing the field with my smooth technique – the clever opening lines, the dead-on impressions of British prime minister Gordon Brown, the offers to pay for bus fare. But my sexual record speaks for itself. With me as your spokesperson, scandal will be a non-issue. That’s a guarantee.
My athletic record is another plus. Career highlights include a loud foul in pee-wee baseball and an attempted basketball shot that actually caused an entire crowd of high-school spectators to roar with laughter. It may not seem the stuff of which endorsements are made. But on the plus side, no amount of steroids or blood doping could possibly make a difference to my performance. Hence, no potential for disillusionment.
There is some local precedent for my approach. Shell Busey comes to mind. The former CKNW host has a long history of local product endorsements, and he does seem to be a safe choice for worried advertisers. But remember, Busey’s pitches are based on his reputation as a do-it-yourselfer and handyman. Should the National Enquirer ever publish hidden-camera photos of Busey trying to hire a landscaper, it will be all over. Sales of your handy garden tool will crater.
By contrast, my own reputation could not possibly be undermined. There’s nothing to attack. A word of caution, though: better hire me quick. Once I become a wealthy and successful product pitchman, there’s no telling what I might do.