Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another Dead Celebrity Endorsement

Just in time for Halloween, the rotting corpse of Chris Farley apparently signed his name on the dotted line of a Direct TV endorsement contract and allowed a scene from the movie "Tommy Boy" to be re-cut with footage of David Spade interacting with him, extolling the virtues of Direct TV's sweet, beautiful HD programming. Some viewers are outraged, calling the spot "distasteful" and a "stupid idea". Personally, I'm finding it hard to care. I guess the ad in some way diminishes the cultural significance of the "Fat Guy in a Little Coat" shtick, but I'm not really seeing how it disrespects Farley.

The fact is, dead celebrities have been shilling for corporations since before Fred Astaire danced with a Dirt Devil vacuum. And, let's face it, Chris Farley was far from some sort of saint who would receive a persona non-grata exemption from TV portrayal. When you make your living on TV, no matter how long you live, your work will be used long after you die for purposes other than the original intent. It's probably even in the standard boilerplate contracts now. And, as zombie celebrity commercials go, this particular one isn't nearly as bad as the stuff that has been done to Frank Sinatra. It actually makes me want to watch "Tommy Boy" again.

Besides, David Spade needed the work.

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