George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and of course don't forget the newest addition to Mount Rushmore's important figures- ABSOLUT VODKA! Well no I'm not really serious about ABSOLUT VODKA being carved into Mount Rushmore, but it has achieved a star on the walk of fame.
In a recent attempt for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to finance renovations and upkeep to the walk of fame it has decided to get corporate sponsors in on the action. For about $1 million your company can have its very own star. While even the celebrities who are nominated must pay $25,ooo for their stars production and upkeep I can't help but think that this beloved tourist attraction has become something taken over by companies and may no longer be apart of American culture. So far L'OREAL and ABSOLUT VODKA have become "Friends of the walk of fame" but with the Chambers goal of $5 million in funds to renovate the walk of fame, you can be sure there will be more companies eager to get their star.
So has corporate America gone too far this time? Has it taken away a little bit of the prestige of having a star? I guess as someone in the Advertising field I can see both sides to this story. While the all American girl in me says that no way should a company be listed among the greats like Frank Sinatra or Bette Davis, the advertising side of me says why not?
In order to obtain a star on the walk of fame a nominee must meet one of five criteria in order to even be considered in the running. The criteria for receiving a star consists of the following: professional achievement, longevity of five years or more, contributions to the community and the guarantee that the celebrity will attend the dedication ceremony if selected. I can sure think of some well known companies that could very well fall under some or all of those criteria. So why then you may ask am I still upset that a company can have a star? I guess it is just a bit disheartening to think that an American tourist attraction would sell itself out. If this really is about helping to restore the famous tourist attraction I just don't see why the Chamber didn't decide to pursue other avenues in raising revenue. I mean think about it, it is the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Tons of stars and starlets are at their disposal to come help out in the effort to raise money and not only help to restore their own star but perhaps make an appearance, sign some autographs and promote a new film or CD.
The bottom line, as it always should be I guess, is don't be surprised by anything and of course there is a price tag on everything. So next time you are in New York don't be surprised to see the Statue of Liberty wearing a new dress Sponsored by DKNY, or Lincoln to be wearing a pair of new Nike's in the Lincoln Memorial. Oh yes corporate America... the sky's the limit!