OUR VIEW - Fame is fine, but not for its own sake

Pin-striped executives are doing cartwheels up and down Madison Avenue just as Andy Warhol's prediction, that everyone will be famous for 15 minutes, is coming true. For the first time, amateur-generated ads appeared during the Super Bowl the most coveted commercial spots all year. Some cost as much as $2.6 million.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010

 

Pin-striped executives are doing cartwheels up and down Madison Avenue just as Andy Warhol's prediction, that everyone will be famous for 15 minutes, is coming true.

For the first time, amateur-generated ads appeared during the Super Bowl the most coveted commercial spots all year. Some cost as much as $2.6 million.

With prices like those, it's no wonder Frito-Lay needs to save as much cash as possible. Think of the money they've saved having some random guy design an ad for them rather than an expensive advertising firm.

But wait, it gets better. Not only do they save money, but viewers don't feel like they're being sold something. And somebody has the opportunity to win something.

It's the ber-ad: It's a sweepstakes, it's viral, it's branding.

All this, plus the advertiser generates goodwill by empowering some random guy ... to sell Doritos.

There isn't anything wrong with it, of course. If people are having a good time with it, more power to them.

However, it does seem like the trend is connected to the growing importance of fame in our society.

Let's be clear, there's nothing wrong with the desire for fame ... in moderation. It is a good thing to earn the respect of your peers. But these commercials don't seem to be about respect or admiration. They are more akin to a 3-year-old's plea to "look at me, look at me."

Commercials such as that featuring a check-out girl over-reacting to a customer's large Doritos purchase seem to be all too willing to abandon any semblance of dignity. They are content if the rest of us will simply turn and gape for a moment. They do not care if we gaze out of esteem or if we do so for the same reason we try to glimpse a car wreck.

We encourage people to desire popularity and importance. We just hope they will desire not simply to be known, but to be known for having done something good.