Wednesday, January 28, 2009

1-28-09: Profiting from a Name

I heard a story today about how John Wayne's kids are selling beef jerky with his name and likeness on the front. The piece featured an interview with his son, who spoke about how he and his dad loved to eat beef jerky, and he said something along the lines of "You know, one day we're going to see him again, and we'd want him to be happy with what we did."

I'm not sure if this is more disturbing than what Ted Williams' son did, but I just get a really bad feeling when I hear about people who profit from their family name. These people aren't necessarily doing anything special; they're selling normal goods that happen to have the name and face of a famous celebrity. I guess it's their right, but it still feels wrong. Do you really think John Wayne wanted his name associated with a brand of beef jerky?

This goes beyond just selling useless crap like t-shirts and beef jerky. Plenty of average people just sit around and live off of their name. Somehow, people think talent is genetic. Whether it's an actor's or a famous athlete's kid, they are given the benefit of the doubt. I guess it helps put people in the seats. But it doesn't often work out. There are only a handful of instances where some one lived up to their name (like Ken Griffey Jr. or Brett Hull). It's very, very uncommon.

But selling John Wayne Beef Jerky is plain wrong.

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