by Walter Brasch
"Branding! We have to make you a brand!"
"I'm not cattle," I told my sometimes faux foil assistant Marshbaum, who had just burst into my office. "And if you think I'm getting a tattoo," I replied, "my body isn't a canvas."
"It's sure wide enough," Marshbaum flippantly replied. Before I could throw sheets of wadded up paper at him, he explained what he meant. "It's not a fire-iron brand," he explained. "It's strategic marketing."
"I'm a journalist," I reminded Marshbaum, "I don't do that kind of thing."
"You will if you want to stay in business."
"I've been in this business four decades, and I've never been branded."
"That's why we need you to do TV commercials," he said.
"I'm a print journalist," I reminded him.
"Yeah, well, not all of us are pretty enough for TV, but you still have to do a commercial! Just like Jennifer Anniston."
"As if she needs more money," I sneered. "She's got a net worth of something between $100 million and $150 million, depending upon which magazine you believe."
"You can never have enough," said Marshbaum.
"Yeah, that and her eight-figure salary for commercials that tell 45-year-old women they can dab junk on their faces and look like ingenues. She's hawking hair products, beer, and some fragrance Besides, she's taking money from low-income hard-working actors who do need the bucks."
"You said that before. And before. And before."
"It's the truth," I said. "A-list actors have branched into TV commercials. Selling everything from eyelash liners to prescription drugs to--"