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Go Figure

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Position of a Becky's Carpet & Tile spot on a list of the "Top 5 Most Irritating Commercials in St. Louis," as judged by a columnist on the St. Louis section of About.com. Irritating but memorable (Shoptalk remembers it clearly, a decade after leaving St. Louis), the ridiculously low-budget spot has turned Becky "Queen of Carpets" Rothman, proprietor of the Becky's chain, into an icon of sorts in the city. It shows her wearing a tiara and floating on a magic carpet above the Gateway Arch as she delivers her sales pitch. But last month, Becky waved her magic wand and got a parody pulled off the air. The spoof was done by Howard Reichman, who owns St. Louis adult-novelty chain Very Intimate Playthings, and features porn star Ron Jeremy done up in a white dress and tiara, floating above downtown St. Louis as he extols the virtues of VIP. One station ran the spot late at night for a week; it was pulled after Rothman complained. "It's something that wasn't really family-oriented," she explains. Others thought she overreacted. "Imitation is the finest form of flattery," says Jeremy, also known as the Hedgehog. "If I were her, I would publicly act indignant but privately say to Howard, 'Keep going, man. This is great.' " Jeff Graham, a partner at St. Louis ad agency Core, agreed. "I thought it was hilarious," he says. "That's testament that those spots have become pretty iconic."