Cold Medication Offers Cold Cash for Oscar Shill

Airborne looks for an Oscar shout-out

Friday, Feb 20, 2009  |  Updated 6:44 AM CDT
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Is five seconds with Angelina worth a million bucks? What about Brad, or Kate? Well, the makers of the cold medication Airborne say they're willing to make an offer that's nothing to sneeze at?

In a tongue in cheek ad that appeared Thursday in the Los Angeles Times, those behind the Airborne cold products say they'll give a million dollars to the favorite charity of the first Oscar winner who says, "I'd like to thank Airborne for this award."

There are some specifics the ad carefully states. The winner has to wait for the applause to die down, speak clearly, all while holding an Airborne box at chin height for at least five seconds. Also, they insist the speech has to be broadcast live.

There is a lot that is vague about this ad as well. For instance, the name "Oscar." The ad speaks only of an "award" being presented in a Feb. 22 ceremony. It speaks only of Sean and Marisa, leaving the imagination to fill in the last names. It also leaves a comfortable distance between the publicity stunt and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which might not have the same sense of humor as the cold medication.

They do acknowledge that five seconds of screen time during the Oscars would be "priceless," but with reports that ABC is struggling to sell all the commercial time in the show, they don't mention why they don't just buy a 30-second ad. But five seconds of an endorsement from Mickey or Meryl likely beats 30 seconds of an ad that could be missed because of a quick run to the bathroom.

It's not likely any "award" winner will shill the product -- about as likely as the Academy choosing anyone but Heath Ledger as the best supporting actor.

Or about as likely as any of these actors actually finding this ad, tucked in beside theater listings on page E5 of the Times. And if they remain silent, look for the only instant Millionaire of the evening to have the word "Slumdog" attached to it.

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