Last month, Russell Crowe took a verbal swipe at George Clooney and other Hollywood superstars for their willingness to be featured in foreign and domestic advertising. "It's kind of sacrilegious," Crowe told GQ, "a contradiction of the contract with your audience."
The list of offended celebrities is impressive. Oscar winner Halle Berry is one of the faces of Revlon, and Brad Pitt was recently featured in a Heineken commercial, in addition to his Japanese ads for canned coffee, luxury watches, sport cars and a chain of banks. Penelope Cruz, Natalie Portman, Harrison Ford and Sean Connery all do odd spots for Japanese beverages, vehicles and beauty products.
If I had my way, ad campaigns in the U.S. would feature the biggest stars plugging items they had a connection to: Lindsay Lohan would do ads for energy drinks, demonstrating how they help you beat exhaustion and get to work on time. Hilary Swank might go public with her love of cheeseburgers — paparazzi caught her digging in to a post-Oscar Astro Burger, her golden statuette sitting prominently on the table. In my perfect world, Johnny Depp would do a series of spots for eyeliner, just in time to promote next year's sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean. — Jessica C. Adams