What if Sam Hurd told you to “Stay Above the Influence”, or Jerry Sandusky did a Public Service Announcement about the dangers of cyber bullying?
Would you listen to the message? Or would you simply want to kill the messenger?
The answer--of course--is both.
As "morally-conscious" Americans, most of us understand the proverbial line in the sand between right and wrong. In most cases, we are either going to blur that line or maintain our pre-established moral standard, regardless of who is reminding us of the righteous high road.
But in the process, we will probably curse our "money grubbing", "celebrity influenced", "Democracy of hypocrisy" for making us forget what a real role model should look like.
Earlier this month, LeBron James became the front man for a new PSA from the US Army and the Ad Council that encourages kids to stay in school.
In a public statement on January 10th, 2012, Publicis Worldwide New York president Rob Feakins said, “Athletic success can sometimes be seen as an excuse not to be academically successful. That’s why it’s critical that athletes of LeBron’s stature speak to how important staying in school was to their professional career.”
Now this would be all well and good if LeBron didn’t kick-start his professional career by bypassing the minor American dream of a free collegiate education.
It’s impossible to fault LeBron for his straight to the pros decision. He was the most NBA-ready prospect in history. But you don’t need a degree to play professional basketball. And the Cleveland Cavaliers certainly weren’t persuaded by the sparkling Saint Mary’s Saint Vincent’s High School diploma on James’ resume.
The Ad Council is sending the right message.
Kids need to stay in school.
However, if they were set on using an athlete to convey that message of staying in school (and they most certainly did not), it would have been nice to see one who actually grinded through the same amount of schooling as a typical capitalist up and comer, like, say LeBron’s Miami teammate Shane Battier, who graduated from Duke University with a 3.5 GPA.
The LeBron James conundrum illuminates our most glaring flaw as free market consumers. If we can attach a name to the face, we become shallow enough to buy into the celebrity-endorsed product or message.
In doing so, we gauge our discerning eyes out of their figurative sockets.
Here are six other endorsers we never should have listened to.