I was driving from the Hamptons to New York City yesterday via the Mid Town Tunnel. I love going through the Mid Town Tunnel because the billboards there are the best of the best in advertising. Whether it’s Apple, or Calvin, or some new brand, they do their best work on those billboards. As a marketing person, I like to look at them and see what’s what.
Apple has a new fabulous ad. Be sure and check it out if you are heading through the tunnel. And, then I see it. There is Jennifer Aniston staring at me, naked from above the chest area, saddled up with a bottle of Smart Water. She says something about being healthy with Smart Water. I look at her as I am sitting in traffic and decide I just don’t get it. I’m uncomfortable, and I realize I have never seen Jennifer in an ad before.
First, why is she always bare shouldered in every picture she does? Put a shirt on Jennifer. You look stupid, which I’ve heard might be the case. Second, you chain smoke. Drinking Smart Water is not going to help you when your lungs turn black, and if it’s making you smarter, then why are you still smoking? You drink a lot. I don’t recall any pictures of you with bottles of water in the media.
Most importantly, why would I listen to Jennifer Aniston about what to drink to make me healthy? While she is a successful actor (I use the term successful generously. She is financially successful and certainly well known, but I have never seen her act at the level of Glenn Close, or Meryl Streep, or frankly, even Lindsay Lohan.). I do not understand why Aniston is someone whose opinion would sway anyone when it comes to buying something healthy. Maybe something that makes you thin and toned, but healthy? I don’t get it.
I got home last night, and because I’m a sicko who just can’t leave anything alone, I did some investigative work. Guess what? She owns a part of the company. This is the first endorsement she has done in America, and Smart Water said, “Jennifer believes in Smart Water so much, she invested in the company.” Let’s define investment. She gave them hard cash and is doing the ads for free? Not so much. They paid her and gave her shares for her endorsement would be my guess.
So, I’m sitting there thinking not only are they using someone who has nothing to do with health to sell the product, but in addition, there is no caveat at the bottom of the ad that says she has a conflict of interest as she is a shareholder. Isn’t that against the law? And if it’s not, shouldn’t it be? Jeeze, we are passing laws a mile a minute now in Washington, can’t they squeeze that one in and do us all a favor?
I never bought Smart Water. I don’t like marketing oxymorons. Water is not smart. And, the electrolytes they put in it are not smart either. I know when I buy water that I’m a jerk. Water is free and how stupid is it to spend a few dollars buying something free in a bottle that makes it not even healthy anymore? The jury is no longer out as to what happens when you put liquids in plastic. They become not so healthy. While they say you are fine if you store them in a cool place, I’m sure the trucks they travel in to get to the stores are anything but cool inside, so you are only fooling yourself. I know all this and still choose to buy water in plastic bottles. To say nothing of the number of plastic bottles floating around the environment. But I don’t pretend to be anything other than stupid, environmentally irresponsible, and non-healthy in my approach to what I put in my mouth.
I understand celebrity endorsements. Tiger Woods endorsing golf items? Makes sense. When he endorsed Buick, I was thinking, “Hey Tiger, I really don’t believe that you like Buick.” And frankly, it clearly didn’t do much good. In the end, Tiger’s manager put out a statement that Tiger would no longer endorse cars. Guess he got tired of driving a pile of junk, no matter how much they paid him.
Ok, after they make the law that says you have to disclose your investment in any company you endorse, they could add to the law by saying you can only endorse products you really use. Jennifer could endorse Range Rover, cigarettes and Starbucks. Works for me. More importantly, isn’t it time for us to take a look at how we are manipulated in advertising? Individually? For our own good? The next time you are in the store, ask yourself why you chose that particular brand, and if it’s because Jennifer Aniston was naked with a crazy look in her eye holding up the bottle, put it back on the shelf and head for a water fountain.