Who'd buy something on these guys' advice?

December 11, 1997|By Kevin Cowherd

IF YOU'RE LIKE millions of Americans, the first person you'd turn to for advice about life insurance and providing for your family in the event of a tragedy is, right, Tom Bosley.

At least that appears to be the thinking of a company called Select Quote, which actually has Tom Bosley pitching life insurance in one of its commercials.

I came upon this commercial late one night, with a couple of beers in me.

At first I wasn't sure if it was some violent hallucination brought on by the alcohol and fatigue.

Then I wondered if maybe it wasn't a re-run of a "Saturday Night Live" skit.

But after a few seconds of listening to Tom prattle on in that annoying, high-pitched voice about his buddy Bill, I think it was, and how he'd advised Bill about a policy that was within his budget, I thought: God in heaven, they're serious!

Watching in stunned silence, all I could think of was: why would anyone hire Tom Bosley to pitch life insurance?

Frankly, I would kill to know the thought process at work here.

When the bigwigs at Select Quote met to choose a national spokesman, someone with the gravitas and insurance savvy to build an ad campaign around, did someone actually pipe up: "Hey, how 'bout that guy who played Richie Cunningham's dad on 'Happy Days'!?"

Sure, Howard Cunningham! Who else would you turn to for solid, no-nonsense answers about your life insurance needs?

Hasn't everyone, at one time or another, felt under-insured and thought: "Gee, I wonder what company Tom Bosley recommends?"

Anyway, you see what I'm getting at here.

To me, this is sort of like Johns Hopkins Hospital looking around for a spokesman for its new oncology unit and deciding on Tony Danza.

Then again, I guess Tom Bosley pitching life insurance isn't any weirder than another commercial making the rounds: George Kennedy for Breath Assure.

Think about this.

Here's a guy best known for his role in those quality "Naked Gun" movies, co-starring everybody's favorite solid citizen, O.J. Simpson.

I think of George Kennedy (when I think of George Kennedy at all) as the fat guy who always looks bug-eyed at Leslie Nielsen's goofy stunts in those movies.

So this is exactly the guy I'd want giving me advice on keeping my breath fresh and clean.

With his years in dental school and all the graduate work he did in the laboratory researching bacteria, I'm sure George Kennedy jTC is one of the foremost experts on breath-related problems.

But my favorite incongruous pitchman of the moment is the ever-shameless Larry King.

These days Larry is pushing something called Ginsana, a ginseng supplement that's supposed to give you increased energy.

Larry King! Here's a guy who looks like he just jumped off an autopsy table.

It looks like they prop him at his desk at CNN every night with a 2-by-4.

In fact, I can't think of anyone on the planet who looks more lifeless, except maybe Strom Thurmond.

Pale, waxy skin, bony shoulders, a neck with more wattles than a turkey -- yeah, Larry's the picture of health.

Plus the guy just had a major heart attack, didn't he?

(Not to mention the fact he's been married, what, 36 times?

(That's just what a guy with a bad heart needs, another honeymoon every six months.)

Almost as intriguing as the Larry King spots is the commercial with Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino for First Plus Finance Group, who want to lend you money for home improvement loans, etc.

Like Dan Marino knows anything about applying for a home improvement loan.

Here's a guy who makes $10 million a year and lives in a house the size of a NATO base.

Yeah, I'm sure he's sitting at the dining room table every night, pulling his hair and punching numbers into a pocket calculator and wailing to his wife: "If only we could get enough money for a tiny addition off the kids' bedroom!"

Dan Marino, financial guru ... give me a break.

Look, if we're talking credibility here, the only thing Dan Marino and every other jock out there should be pushing is beer.

I could see a commercial with him and a few of his friends in a smoky Miami saloon, with Dan saying: "When me and the rest of the Dolphins get loaded after a game, this is the beer we get loaded on."

That's an endorsement I'd believe.

Pub Date: 12/11/97

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