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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Star-Studded Ads: Madison Avenue Meets Hollywood and Vine

Aired July 15, 2003 - 20:51   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Celine Dion is singing Chrysler's tune at the top of her lungs and Madonna, who told us she was a material girl, will prove that this fall by doing ads for the Gap. It seems more and more superstars are putting their credibility on the line to pitch products.
What's going on here? Donny Deutsch is chairman of the New York Ad Agency, Deutsch Incorporated.

Welcome.

DONNY DEUTSCH, CHAIRMAN, DEUTSCH INC.: Nice to be here.

ZAHN: Having a good summer?

DEUTSCH: Great summer.

ZAHN: All right. This is nothing new.

DEUTSCH: Nothing new.

ZAHN: But it's being taken to a whole new level, isn't it?

DEUTSCH: You know, we are in such a celebrity crazed society today, where everywhere you turn, we're really getting more and more tabloid, that I think advertising is just reflecting it and you're seeing a new kind of heightened craze with celebrities and kind of bizarre choices of celebrities, also.

ZAHN: Is Madonna going to really sell more jeans for Gap? I mean, granted, very few women in America have the abs that Madonna has, even after having two children, thank you very much.

DEUTSCH: Well, Madonna -- I don't know if she sold anymore Pepsi when she did her Pepsi shots.

You know, the Gap is always looking for cutting edge people. I was a little surprised at that one, because they kind of look for up and comers. The reality is, if Gap's got...

ZAHN: Oh, what? She's some has-been?

DEUTSCH: Well, she's not. She's very well known, and they kind of look for a little bit more surprise people. The reality is, if you like their clothes, you're going to buy them. If you don't, you're not. I don't think that's going to change.

ZAHN: Do these campaigns really lead to increased sales?

DEUTSCH: I think the ones that is where the celebrities have an editorial relevance to it, where they're making -- you know, for instance, Tiger Woods selling Nike and golf clubs, and, you know -- I mean, obviously, goes like that. When you just plop a Sharon Stone all of a sudden lying in bed with the AOL little logo guy, consumers go, huh? What are you doing? Did Sharon Stone need a pay day? Was AOL really hard -- I noticed the parent was AOL -- really hard up for a...

ZAHN: Watch it, buddy.

DEUTSCH: ..spokesperson there? You know, so, it's got to make sense.

ZAHN: But there was a period of time when these celebrities were really roundly criticized for taking on this extra income. And walk us through the list of those who might not have made this choice a couple of years ago. For starters, JLo with Louis Vuitton.

DEUTSCH: You know, that's an interesting one. Louis Vuitton, very high end. Obviously they're trying to even get more youthful with their image. JLo, I think that can backfire on them, because I think a prestige brand needs to kind of stay a little distant and not necessarily kind of go to who's the pop star of the day. I think that might backfire.

ZAHN: Penelope Cruz, Ralph Lauren.

DEUTSCH: Interesting choice for Ralph Lauren. I think they had a little bit of an older image. I think she was overly served up initially kind of as a very elegant model. I think it's worked for them and I think it was a surprise there.

ZAHN: Catherine Zeta-Jones.

DEUTSCH: Catherine Zeta-Jones...

ZAHN: Huge payday for Catherine on this ad.

DEUTSCH: Big pay -- 10 large for Catherine Zeta and, you know, not that it was about the money, of course, but, I mean, that was a bug surprise, and a lot of people have criticized...

ZAHN: And this would not be Catherine Zeta-Jones.

DEUTSCH: No, we are looking at...

ZAHN: Is this a Michael Jordan ad?

DEUTSCH: Yes, that's -- oh, there she is.

ZAHN: There she is. Oh, it was. Oh, she teased us here. DEUTSCH: You know, a lot of people have criticized that, saying, What's she doing in there, whatnot. But that -- the phone business is a very low interest category. So putting kind of a wow factor in there probably helped and I think that has been a successful campaign for them.

ZAHN: Let's quickly go through the campaigns that you think have worked. Courtney Cox, David Arquette.

DEUTSCH: Yes, that's a new campaign for Coke, real, because it;s showing them in a real environment, just being very natural, kind of -- you know, she plays a joke on him with ice in the thing. And it's not like, Hey, I'm Courtney Cox and I drink a Coke. It's showing it in a real situation and the brand positioning is real. I think it made sense.

ZAHN: Danny Devito, DirectTV ad, and in the interest in full disclosure, this is one of your ads, wasn't it?

DEUTSCH: Well, it's a brilliant ad done by a brilliant advertising agency, the Deutsch Agency.

You know, this is a campaign where you're using Danny DeVito, Lawrence Fishburne, John Goodman -- celebrities reading letters from real consumers saying how much they love DirectTV. And at the end they say they're users of DirectTV. So they really use the product, and I think it's a fun campaign.

ZAHN: And when have these ads backfired?

DEUTSCH: I think they backfire, number one, when a celebrity kind of goes south. You know, we're seeing Kobe Bryant now -- probably one of the top five spokespeople in all of sports -- all of a sudden he's been charged with assault against a woman. Obviously, if he's innocent, it doesn't stick. But if he's found guilty, you know, the Nikes of the world, the Sprites who are in bed with him, they take a licking.

ZAHN: Britney Spears? Did that campaign work?

DEUTSCH: Well, personally, I had a lot of fun watching it. You know what I mean? As far as the...

ZAHN: Oh, I bet you did.

DEUTSCH: Did it sell more Pepsi? I think Pepsi just tends to just glom on the celebrity of the moment. They've always done that. I don't see the relevance with the brand. And once again, you know, as soon as the celebrity becomes not hot, it's not good for the brand.

ZAHN: If you could nab any celebrity to sell something, to hock something right now, who would it be? Who's at the top of your wish list?

DEUTSCH: Paula Zahn, without question. But I know there's the whole news thing in terms of our -- but if you could get Paula Zahn, the credibility, the wisdom, the beauty, would be incredible.

ZAHN: It doesn't work to suck up to the host. It just doesn't work that way.

Good of you to join us.

DEUTSCH: Pleasure.

ZAHN: Thank you. Have a good rest of the summer.

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