“The more he thought about it, the more his head hurt.” — George Ade

December 12, 2009


I was driving on the New Jersey Turnpike on my way to Manhattan a couple of weeks ago when I had an almost irresistible urge to buy an expensive watch. In fact, the urge was more specific than that; I wanted to buy an expensive watch from Fords Jewelers. This was an odd sensation for me because I haven’t worn a watch since 1956.

It turned out that this passing compulsion had been brought on by a billboard that promoted Fords Jewelers with an image of Tiger Woods showing a classy watch on his wrist. Woods hadn’t taken his plunge from Paradise yet, so naturally the message from this sign bored into my brain and made me want to be like Tiger — the cost be damned.

Fortunately, I was on my way to Carnegie Hall, so I had to continue on my way. After two and a half hours of Arlo Guthrie and his family, the urge had subsided and I continued telling time by the sun.


Now we read that advertisers that have been using Tiger Woods as their shill might be re-thinking the wisdom of it. Earlier this year, USA Today ran a story about companies having similar misgivings about continuing their relationships with Michael Phelps and Chris Brown.

Something about this doesn’t make sense to me. Do advertisers believe — or do they have evidence to show — that consumers actually buy products because of the celebrities who endorse them? Or, do advertisers rely on celebrities principally to call attention to the brands? And if that’s the case, wouldn’t it make sense to continue with a Tiger Woods, who is now the focal point of many people who — not being golf fans — normally would pay him no mind? “Hey, that guy is a schlemiel — but isn’t that a great-looking watch?”

Jerry Stiller and Ann Meara told me in an interview many years ago that they were circumspect about what they would endorse. They wouldn’t want their names connected with anything that could be construed as unsavory or embarrassing, and they would have to have at least some confidence in the quality of the product. Funny thing is, if Stiller and Meara suggested I buy something, I actually might listen.


One Response to ““The more he thought about it, the more his head hurt.” — George Ade”

  1. Scikid Says:

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