Thursday, 19 August 2010

Who needs gold when you've got silver?

Brands love a good celebrity spokesperson. Someone with a squeaky-clean reputation who'll happily smile and hold up their 'product of choice' every time they come within ten feet of a camera lens.

Before he became an occasionally tolerable actor, Mark Wahlberg's claim to fame was as a spokesmodel for Calvin Klein underwear - even though he seldom did any actual speaking. And Michael Jordan seemed to spend more time holding shoes in ads than he did wearing them on the court.

For brands with a certain sex appeal, it must be easy to recruit willing celebrities to gnash their teeth and extol your products' inarguable virtues. It's not quite so easy when the shit you're shifting is about as cool as a Scotch bonnet pepper.

So spare a thought for haircare brand Rise-N-Shine, the makers of Go Away Gray. They're desperate to snag their own grinning meat-puppet, but there's a catch.

Since, as its self-evident name suggests, their product eradicates those unwanted grey (UK blog, UK spelling) hairs, it's going to be tough for them to find a handsomely appealing and famous face. Especially one that's willing to admit that they've been pulling the lustrous brunette wool over our eyes all this time.

But that's OK, because they've got someone very special in mind. Anderson Cooper is one of CNN's most respected (and lusted after) news anchors, as famous for his shiny mane of prematurely silver hair as he is for his authoritative journalistic approach.

In a world of screeching blowhards and crusty relics, Anderson's metrosexual appeal and love of figure-hugging sportswear makes him the news man that women want to sleep with, and men, well, they also want to sleep with him. He's famously ambiguous about his private life, but is regularly snapped by the paps with a muscular young friend.

The people at Go Away Gray are hoping that Anderson will be tempted by their offer of $1 million (cue anachronistic Doctor Evil pinkie-finger gesture) to try their fantastic course of Catalese-containing pills. Company mouthpiece Cathy Beggan told the press "Anderson Cooper is a really visible and well-respected figure and [we] thought he would be a great spokesperson for the product and the company. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s a handsome gentleman."

Unfortunately, this is one handsome gentleman unlikely to be swayed by this kind of courtship. For a start, Anderson is the son of heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, and so it's unlikely that he finds himself doing a stock-take of the fridge towards the end of each month.

More importantly, his status as the king of Silver Foxes means that asking him to advocate any kind of hair colourant would be like asking Amy Winehouse to advertise Um Bongo.

On the other hand, as any good PR knows, the key to breaking a story is getting people talking about your product. Anderson Cooper may be more likely to start expressing breast milk live on air than advertise an anti-grey hair brand, but at least they've scored their media coverage.

Let's be honest - that million dollar reward was probably never on the cards. Although just imagine how many people would have gone grey overnight if he'd said yes.

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