The Old Man On The Mountain

A View From the Backwoods of NH

Celebrity Endorsements

From selling products to seeking insight, celebrity endorsements have always been a popular way to “get the word out”, since their facial recognition is far higher than that of the “average joe”. But what does that really mean? Are celebrities that much smarter than the rest of us? Should we listen to what they have to say? Well, that depends.

When Cindy Crawford tells me about makeup and personal hygiene products that she uses and feels are worth the price, then I’ll pay attention and take what she has to say as valuable input into my final decision-making process. I mean, after all, she’s always been beautiful and has aged gracefully. Now I know most of that is good genes, but you can’t discount the fact that some of it is also the smart use of maintenance and daily products.

On the other hand, when Jenny McCarthy tells me all about how to raise children and to not give them vaccinations, because vaccinations cause major birth defects, well, I take that the same way as I would from some lady in the supermarket. Jenny knows about posing nude, comedic timing and a little bit of acting. And she also has experience raising an autistic child. But do I take her advise as a child and medical specialist – hell no. While there may be an issue with some people and vaccinations (which I, again, attribute to genes), by and large, the overall population is much safer because of them.

But, because of their popularity, many people today put a lot of stock in what “celebrities” have to say. And nowhere is it more visible than in public elections and global topics. And the key spokespersons for these are actors – you know, people who have played your favorite character in a movie/tv/on stage. I mean, they’ve been so comforting or strong, so they have to know what they’re talking about, right? Wrong.

Actors are people with the ability to memorize lines and portray feelings. And while they are at the front of the production, that’s all most of them are – much like the robotics at Disney World. It’s the writers that come up with all the insights and words that the actors speak. Sure, some actors ad-lib, and some are intelligent. But most just repeat what’s written for them.

And it’s the director that brings the emotion and human touch to a performance. Again, some actors are adept at doing this on their own, to just know what their character would be, or would do. but most times it’s the director, much like a conductor, that brings the performance together.

Now I’m not talking all actors here. In politics, Ronald Reagan is a fine example of an actor that I listened to – not because he was a popular actor, but because he was a Governor, then a President. The same with Clint Eastwood (Mayor) or Arnold Schwarzenegger (Governor). But anyone that doesn’t have that pedigree in the field that they’re endorsing is doing nothing more than stating their opinion, and using their popularity and acting skill to manipulate you.

If you want to listen to someone, listen to yourself. You know what works best for you – and if you can’t trust yourself, then who can you trust? And do your homework – don’t be lazy. Gather opinions from both sides, and from sources that have experience (not training) in what you’re looking at. Because when you’re responsible, and you have no one to blame but yourself, you’ll always make a decision you can live with.