Barbara Lippert’s Critique

The biggest kickoff in TV history takes place this Sunday—Survivor 2—but the first boatload of castaways won’t get off the stage!

Even ever-prescient Andy Warhol, whose woefully overused “famous for 15 minutes” remark hardly does these people justice, could never have conceived the way “reality” shows have dumbed celebrity down. Nor could he have imagined the nude human drama that is million-dollar winner Richard Hatch.

Shirtless, pantless, ruthless and shameless (and a corporate trainer to boot), a newly lipoed and tummy-tucked Hatch has been photographed naked more times than the Barbie twins.

Meanwhile, on MTV’s own trailblazing circle of reality, Road Rules and The Real World, a recent show put players from both programs together for the ultimate face-off at an exotic local. When they arrived, they were thrilled at the glamorous TV person hired to guide them.

Leeza Gibbons, you guess? Vanna White, maybe? Nah, it was Ramona, the vomiting biochemist who was the third person booted off the island. Susan the truck driver’s “snake and rat” speech is now only slightly less famous than the Gettysburg Address.

And according to my latest New York Post, Billy Joel is upset his ex-girlfriend is dating Dr. Sean, the neurologist with the nipple ring, who now stars as the house doc on Extra. And it’s only going to get worse as Survivor 2 takes off and the old crew starts analyzing the action.

But what of the sweet, stylish Colleen, who, according to Entertainment Weekly, proved “you can be adorable and pustulant” at the same time? (In being voted off the island, she said, “Be nice.” Later, she showed the camera her festering bug bites. On her legs, they were fetching.) A student at the Miami Ad School (reportedly with a great book), she was the only participant who claimed she wasn’t an actress, didn’t want stardom and was going back to graduate school and her old life.

Naturally, she has a role in an upcoming major motion picture with Rob Schneider. And now, Colleen stars in a Blistex commercial, the only one of the ragtag bunch to have an ad created around her. (Stacy and B.B., two of the earliest losers, had bit parts in Reebok spots last year.)

And what a spot! Open on a shot of Colleen, fully dressed, in a nice turtleneck sweater and suede jacket and boots, scampering around on high cliffs and rocks while the sea behind her rolls.

“Wait till your lips feel this!” she says, looking very cute. “New Blistex Complete Moisture. It’s the only lip balm with moisture inside!” (She applies it to her top lip while looking at the camera.) “Wow!” she smacks. “Moisture like you’ve never felt before! Discover what your lips are missing! New Blistex complete moisture!” she exclaims.

I wonder how she felt, as a creative student at the Miami Ad School, having to emit an actual “Wow!” after applying the product. This is too cornball for the Bunny to ignore.

Obviously, this is brand building with a late 1950s template. It takes a special gift—or chutzpah—to get four mentions of moisture and two spoken brand names and two logos all within 15 seconds. (I get it. It’s new Blistex Complete Moisture!)

And I also understand why the agency used Colleen. They needed someone sweet and naive who harks back to a more innocent time, say before Andy Williams’ wife killed her ski instructor/lover. Otherwise, the earnest talk of lips and moisture is downright kinky.

But Colleen, if you only have 15 seconds of fame, would you want to spend it as Susie Chapstick? Blistex

Agency

Merritt-Clapp

New York

Chief Creative Officer

Jeff Clapp

Creative Director

Noel Rapisarda

Art Director

Andres Sanz

Agency Producer

Liz Tagatec

Director

Ken Nahoum/Edge Films