Ad Watch

February 14, 2005

Pitchman From the Beyond

How come Jerry Orbach keeps shilling for the Senior Lending Network, even when he's dead?

Carl Bialik

Jerry Orbach keeps appearing in TV ads for Senior Lending Network, a month and a half after he died. His widow told the New York Daily News last week that she was appalled; a company spokeswoman said the company tried to pull the ads but stations said they couldn't immediately. Yet I saw one of these ads this weekend; Orbach died Dec. 28. It's surreal. (On a related note: Why does Campbell's Soup Co. keeps running those Eagles ads, where Donovan McNabb's Mom inspires her son and his teammates for big games? Shouldn't there be some grace period after the Super Bowl loss?)

Why would the company keep running the ads? I've emailed them for comment. Intentional or not, Senior Lending Network is getting more publicity in Orbach's death than it did while he was alive and pitching product. A week after his death, the company issued a press release. David Peskin, president of the company, said, "He was more than our spokesman; he was an influential advocate for seniors and used his celebrity, integrity and training to open a dialogue with seniors about this financial option." Many of the Google hits about the company concern Orbach's death in one way or another. (AdRants said, "For SLN's sake, let's just hope it was human oversight and not one last morbid grasp at capitalizing on the star.")

SLN's Website says its new spokesman is Robert Wagner. RIP, Jerry; and, we hope, RIP, Jerry's ads.

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Article by Carl Bialik

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