Clooney’ s cash cow


Coffee salesman Clooney

Still: it’s about the money

Amsterdam still has the feel of a sweet, old city.

Nice, when you consider the commercial ubiquity of traveling to foreign lands.

If you travel to Rome you can chomp chicken at KFC and if you stay in Hong Kong you can buy a Coke at 7-11.

Here in Amsterdam–a city resplendent with canals and crumbling churches–you can find a Subway sandwich shop while walking down an ancient street or spy an American Apparel store on the upscale West side.

Fortunately the old-city feel survives the onslaught of Americana, with one exception.
Advertisements featuring American actors–presumably too cool to sell their visage in the USA–are found throughout the city.

Today I saw George Clooney promoting a coffee maker.

And Johnny Depp shills cologne.

How odd that American movie stars rebuff Yankee yahoos but actively court the Dutch, the French, the Japanese and the Arabs.

The practice has become de rigeur for Hollywood gentry, whom, according to ad expert Bob Garfield, get paid upwards a million bucks for one advertisement.

Garfield says, “If you’re at the top of the Hollywood food chain, you just don’t do advertisements in the United States. It’s considered demeaning. It’s considered the sure sign of someone on the way down.”

It’s a little insulting to think Clooney or Depp might consider it demeaning to sell their commercial souls to US audiences, who presumably support their films with overwhelming zeal.

Are the Dutch and Japanese just cooler than we are?

A few years ago Thomas Friedman wrote the award-winning book, ‘The World is Flat,” arguing that our differences as citizens of a culture are “flattening,” meaning, we are becoming more similar to one another.

You can eat a Big Mac in Dubai and Dubrovnik, and you can wear Keds in Reykeyvik and Rotterdam.

We–the international we–use iPhones, listen to Adele, watch Leonardo DiCaprio films and check Facebook daily–whether we’re from Bismarck or Beirut.

So, aren’t celebrity fans pretty much the same the world over?

The idea that some movie stars rebuff American audiences in favor of overseas fans is pretty petty.

We’re all fans, aren’t we?

Maybe celebs are just embarrassed their image can be had for a price–as long as the yahoos don’t find out.


As my students would say, Jean Baudrillard would have a field day.

For all my students and former students.


Selling scents




About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in advertising, authenticity, Bob Garfeild, Bob Garfield, framing, George Clooneu, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, overseas advertising celebrity, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Clooney’ s cash cow

  1. treeinspace says:

    I have seen the Clooney commercial ad nauseam (LOL!) here in Michigan but the Depp commercial only once…strange.


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