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November 13, 2009

If you can't afford real celebrities, get people who look like them

Posted on Fri Nov 13 2009


With marketing budgets cut to the bone, there just isn't as much cash to pay for celebrity endorsements these days. What to do? Lately, it looks like a lot of companies are featuring actors and models who, well, look like real actors and models. So long as the camera keeps moving fast enough, it just might work, right? Maybe it's just us, but doesn't that young dude in the orange baseball cap on the Benetton homepage (and shown here) look a lot like Nick Jonas? Or how about the recent "Drinkability" spots from Bud Light? If that wasn't supposed to be Dave Chappelle serving up his acerbic wit at the backyard barbecue, well, he has a twin brother. Lest you think this celeb-stand-in thing is a uniquely American phenomenon, check out this Philippine spot for heartburn remedy Motilium. No, it's not President Obama, it's a 34-year-old Indonesian photographer named Ilham Anas. In a few cases, marketers seem to have reached for look-alikes by default, as the real notables are dead. Such was the case for last year's "Freezing at Pee-Wee Hockey" spots for Dunkin' Donuts Milky Way Hot Chocolate. Was that legendary actress Mabel Normand in the stands? Uh, no. She died in 1930. Considerably more controversial was the racy AIDS awareness spot with Hitler that AdFreak wrote about. Also, the investment spot from South Africa with a resurrected James Dean. This trend may have reached its cultural apogee in California in August when an L.A.-based sperm bank launched a campaign called "Donor Look-A-Likes," which allows would-be receptor clients to search for donor sperm based on celebrities the donors most resembled. In other words, Taylor Lautner never showed up to make the pitch, but the stuff in that test tube sure looked like him.

—Posted by Robert Klara


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