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Cause Marketing For Hollywood

If you’re like me, you’re worried sick about what Hollywood actors and entertainment insiders think about the First Amendment, arts education in public schools, media literacy, and arts advocacy.

So, how better to bridge the gap between Hollywood and the rest of us than by funding things like celebrity-studded public service announcements and public forums where the hoi polloi and the arts community can discuss important issues of the day?

But my personal favorite is highlighted in the ad which brought “celebrities and stylish brands together through exclusive parties, luxe spa services, media suites, and more” in the service of celebrating “all things Hollywood” during the Academy Awards in March 2010.

This is vital nonprofit work my friends.

Forgive the sarcasm. But what else to make of this ridiculous self-indulgent ad? And by ridiculous I mean ‘worthy of ridicule.’

The ad, which ran in Elle magazine in July 2010, features ‘A-list actors… and media tastemakers’ like Stephen Collins and Erin Cummings above a list of ‘I’ll drink to that’ sponsors that include Jack Daniel’s and Monster.

To be fair, The Creative Coalition, which is a 501 (c)(3) public charity, is listed as another sponsor of the events, not the producer. Haven 360 was the producer. But since The Creative Coalition’s logo is seen no less than eight times in the ad, and since there’s little reason for the ad to run without The Creative Coalition’s participation, it’s a distinction almost without a difference.

The Creative Coalition, write co-presidents Tim Daly and Dana Delany in an open letter on the website “is made up of hundreds of actors, writers, directors, producers, journalists, artists, agents, casting directors, attorneys, publicists, dancers, artists, singers... Coalition members …believe that the active involvement in our political system of this highly visible industry is important not just to those who participate, but to the nation as a whole.”

You’ll get no argument from me that entertainers and creatives have a role to play in modern American Democracy. But so do the people who run those noisy street sweepers in mall parking lots at 6 am in the morning. You just don’t see them talking about their political and governmental policy views while getting a couples massage with one of the Kardashian sisters.

That “the Coalition members are caring, concerned professionals who believe that the active involvement in our political system of this highly visible industry is important not just to those who participate, but to the nation as a whole” is self-important nonsense on the scale of a Summer blockbuster.

Certainly “play(ing) an assertive role in presenting the creative community’s views on” issues like the First Amendment and arts education sounds high-minded. But who among us believe that the celebrities came to Haven360 last March for any reason besides the luxe spa services and the swag bag (and probably in that order since the IRS has recently taken a dim view of unreported swag bags)?

And if the price of admission was to bloviate on camera a little about arts education or the First Amendment, that’s a small enough price to pay for A-list tastemakers like Richard Kind.

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