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Yet Another Case of How Powerful Advertising Is…
By: Tom Roarty
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If there was ever a question as to how powerful advertising is in regards to making or breaking one's acting career, presently there is no need to look any further than Charlie Sheen for a positive case study. Much like the 1996–2001 version of Robert Downey Jr., Mr. Sheen was thrust into mainstream social media more for his actions off the screen than his actions on it.
After spiraling out of control last year, people who were not even familiar with his top-rated show Two and a Half Men became aware of him through the media frenzy that surrounded him in an effort to catch every second of his breakdown to share with the world. It was Mr. Sheen’s willingness to play along with the media that led some to speculate that the actor was partaking in the role of his life, but at what cost?
Much like Robert Downey Jr., it was only after everything seemed lost that a newly invented person came from the ashes. It was nine months after his firing from Two and a Half Men that Comedy Central made the decision to roast him. The decision turned out to be a huge success, making “The Roast of Charlie Sheen” the highest-rated roast for Comedy Central to date with 6.4 million viewers, proving that people have not had enough of Mr. Sheen.
So armed with the knowledge of Charlie Sheen’s ability to poke fun of himself and America's willingness to eat it up, Grey Advertising in New York casted him in a DirecTV commercial, while Doner in Detroit followed suit with a commercial for the Fiat Abarth. Both spots make fun of the lifestyle and troubles the actor has faced over the years in a very successful fashion. So much so, in fact, that his once socially unacceptable behavior is now something that is being forgotten about by even the most harshest of his critics: the female demographic.
Advertising has found a way to make what some people had considered to be a burden of society, burning through his last 15 minutes of fame, into a person American television viewers will wait for to see what products he is endorsing. It is not always a safe gamble from a business standpoint to try and cash in on someone who had the problems Charlie Sheen had to deal with, but such is the world of advertising.
It is not an exact science as much as it is a gamble sometimes, but it is the willingness to take chances that makes an agency stand out. The real test will come with how successful Mr. Sheen’s new show, “Anger Management”, airing on FX will be. That shall decide if he is actually back, or if starring roles in commercials is all the Tiger Blood this country can handle.

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