People have a thing about celebrities’ birth names. Shoptalk remembers the kid in junior high who knew that Bob Dylan was Robert Zimmerman—never did a pimply hanger-on so suddenly seem like a keeper of vast and mysterious knowledge. People are less excited about companies’ name changes. So Sparky’s Garage, a boutique in Leesburg, Va., is smart to use celebs in announcing the rebranding of PlanetGov (a company that sells technology to the government) as Apptis. “Before she was an actress, she was a Baker,” says this ad with Marilyn Monroe (the ex-Norma Jean Baker). A second ad, featuring John Wayne (née Marion Morrison), reads, “You could say he just wasn’t the Marion kind.” A third, with Ray Charles (aka Ray Robinson), reads, “Here’s to you, Mr. Robinson.” Bill Replogle and the Sparky’s gang did have a few problems. The Monroe estate didn’t like the original line, “Before she was Miss Cheesecake, she was a Baker” (“even though Stars & Stripes magazine had bestowed that title on her two years running,” says Replogle). And to satisfy the Wayne estate, the agency had to Photoshop out a cigarette. “We got John Wayne to kick the habit. If only we could have done it sooner,” says Replogle. Sadly, the campaign does not feature Allen Stewart Konigsberg, Krishna Bhanji or Richard Starkey.
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