Why do we care so much about Hollywood celebrities? Just because some guy was on a show that I used to watch, I should care about his personal life or his political views or what he eats for breakfast? Maybe I’m out of the mainstream on this, but I just don’t know why actors are such celebrities.
During a commercial interruption the other night, my lovely wife said, “That’s Jeff Daniels.” I looked around, and Jeff Daniels was definitely not in our bedroom.
“On the TV,” she said, preempting my obvious question. “The voice over on that commercial was Jeff Daniels.” By this time, the commercial was over. “And that’s Sarah Jessica Parker” she continued as the next advertisement began. It just so happened that the next commercial featured a celebrity voice over as well, as Gene Hackman celebrated the joys of Home Depot (or was it Lowes?).
But that got me wondering. Is it worth it for advertisers to pay big bucks to have Hollywood celebrities lend their voices to TV commercials? The short answer must be yes. These big companies are too smart to dump buckets of money onto celebrities unless they are getting some serious bang for their buck.
Having the star actually appear in the commercial is one thing, I guess. I can see that maybe seeing Sylvester Stallone eating Corn Flakes might make someone want to buy them. But to just hear his voice talking about the corny goodness of the flakes? Am I the only one who routinely fails to recognize the celebrity voices extolling the virtues of Citizen Watches and Double Whoppers?
Likewise, the dreaded paparazzi wouldn’t bother to stalk Hollywood celebrities day and night unless people were willing to pay to see pictures of Jessica Alba going to the dry cleaner or Christian Bale walking his dog. Somehow we’ve been brainwashed into believing that everything about these stars is glamorous, even though the majority of their day is just as mundane as ours. From what I’ve seen of reality TV, it may be even worse. If you took the most interesting 30 minutes of my week and filmed it, it would certainly be as interesting as any reality TV show, just without all the weeping and moaning and beautiful people. Then again, maybe it’s the weeping and moaning and beautiful people that keep viewers tuning in week after week.
The last straw for me was all of the movie stars coming out of the woodwork to share their political views during the last presidential election. The thing that bothers me isn’t so much that every movie star and pop singer wants to speak out to demonize one party and praise the other. Each actor and actress is entitled to their own opinion and one vote, just like the rest of us. The problem isn’t that Hollywood celebrities want to give their opinions on politics; it’s that we listen and are influenced. There’s nothing like selecting the next leader of the free world based on the whims of the super wealthy elite who work three months a year.