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Men In Crisis, Risky Celeb Endorsements, Social Network's Sorkin Talks to W

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood September 23, 2010 at 6:21AM

- Ad Age argues that the benefits of celebrity endorsements continue to outweigh the risks in advertising. In the case of Tiger Woods, chronic philanderer, or Michael Vick, dog fighting lord, we've seen how mega-star endorsements can go terribly wrong. But for each disastrous blow-to-the-head of humans put on god-like pedestals, there are dozens more smooth-sailing, highly-paid celebs bringing in bank for their brands.
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Thompson on Hollywood


- Ad Age argues that the benefits of celebrity endorsements continue to outweigh the risks in advertising. In the case of Tiger Woods, chronic philanderer, or Michael Vick, dog fighting lord, we've seen how mega-star endorsements can go terribly wrong. But for each disastrous blow-to-the-head of humans put on god-like pedestals, there are dozens more smooth-sailing, highly-paid celebs bringing in bank for their brands.

Ad Age writes: "Companies know there's risk when they choose a celebrity-endorsement approach." Putting a face to a name and a celebrity to a product helps us to remember and build brand loyalty - this is crucial since we are exposed to "more than 3,000 commercial images a day; our subconscious absorbs more than 150 images and roughly 30 reach our conscious mind." There's a lot of competition for space in our brains. Studies of endorsement show sales for a brand can increase up to twenty percent simply because of a celebrity endorsement. Bottom line? It's "always worth investing in if you have the right person."

Thompson on Hollywood


- As many endorsements-gone-awry have been men, let's turn to Newsweek's question: "What's the matter with men?" The mag points out that in the labor force, men currently make up less than 50% (vs. 70% in 1945) and that while women either match or outnumber men in higher education, men "have retained their lead in alcoholism, suicide, homelessness, violence, and criminality." Lovely. So while Newsweek understands why "so many deadline anthropologists are down on men," especially with the recession undercutting male-dominated industries, they want to know how men will "get back on track?" They argue that with some men returning or being pushed toward "old models and mores of manhood for salvation," it only cripples hope for successful adaptation:

"For starters, it encourages them to confront new challenges the same way they dealt with earlier upheavals: by blaming women, retreating into the woods, or burying their anxieties beneath machismo. And it does nothing to help them succeed in school, secure sustainable jobs, or be better fathers in an economy that’s rapidly outgrowing Marlboro Manliness."

- Newsweek isn't the first to address male evolution. The subject is "totally hot right now," writes Jezebel, but this men-as-dying-breed idea is "just pointless fear-mongering":

"[A lot of people] know that women aren't all alike anyway, and neither are men — and they have the unique work and family and relationship situations to prove it. They know that so-called 'traditional' gender roles have long left out people of color, and gay people, and trans people, and people who are working-class. They know that the way to empower women isn't to write a book about how they're better than men — and that the way to attract men to new careers isn't to assume they'll always choose technology over people. They don't have all the answers, but they have questions — which probably have less to do with masculinity and femininity than with how they can make ends meet and possibly raise a family without everyone telling them they're doing it wrong. They're out there — now where's their trend piece?"
Thompson on Hollywood


- While no longer in crisis himself, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin talks to W, is primed to get high off The Social Network's success, but notes he still fights every day to resist the lure of crack and cocaine (he wrote The American President in a drugged-up state at The Four Seasons). Sorkin always struggles with his first scenes when he's starting a new project: "First scenes are superimportant to me…I’ll spend months and months pacing and climbing the walls trying to come up with the first scene." Six showers a day and long drives on the freeway help get his writing juices flowing. David Fincher, after reading the first scene of The Social Network told Sorkin it was "like Citizen Kane meets John Hughes.”

This article is related to: Genres, Stuck In Love, Daily Read, Media, Thriller, Drama, Biopics, Screenwriters


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.