What does Bentley think of the Paris ad?

Despite threatening noises from the Parents Television Council, Carl’s Jr. is doubtless pleased with the tons of free publicity it has won via a new commercial in which Paris Hilton gnaws on a burger after lathering up a Bentley. And we’ll assume Ms. Hilton is pleased, too, since the business plan for Brand Hilton centers on her ability to generate publicity. But what about the innocent bystander in this affair? For an upscale brand like Bentley, the commercial and attendant furor seem like a downscale two-fer, linking it to a second-tier fast feeder and to America’s Cheesiest Starlet. So, how are the Bentley folks taking it? With stuff upper lips, judging by the response to an inquisitive e-mail we sent to John Crawford, the marque’s director of public relations for the Americas. He passed along a prepared statement from Bentley (now part of Volkswagen’s global automotive empire) that included this studiously bland comment on the situation: “Bentley cars have appeared in a variety, and growing number of films, music videos and commercials. In almost all cases the choice of Bentley has been that of the independent producers, and whilst Bentley Motors is pleased to witness increasing popularity of its cars, it does not initiate the inclusion of its cars in independent productions. When a marque, or brand, rises to a high level of visibility in the community it is inevitable that many will seek to leverage such popularity for gain or benefit.” Yes, we’ve been anticipating that problem for AdFreak. Thank goodness Ms. Hilton wasn’t brandishing our logo while eating that burger.