Tom Hanks: Corporate Shill

For years actors A-list actors resisted appearing in commercials. Anyone who wanted to make some extra money would jet off to Japan where they could pitch jeans, booze, pachinko and whatnot without looking like a sell-out. ‘Cause Hollywood film-making is otherwise a hotbed of integrity.

This has been changing over the past couple of years. Named actors are still avoiding the camera, but they are flocking to ad agencies to do voice over work. I know this because Kiefer Sutherland seems very insistent that I own both a Ford and an Intel chip Mac.

Which brings us to Tom Hanks. He doesn’t do commercials, he’s all about branding opportunities – which is where the real money is. I just caught a bit of You’ve Got Mail on TV over the weekend (I was channel surfing) and even 10 minutes worth reminded me how much it was an ad for AOL. And course there was Cast Away, which I mostly remember as being about an obsessive FedEx employee.

Now he’s turning his thespian skills to a little coffee startup in Starbucks Saved My Life. Hanks will play a former ad exec who lost his job and wife and ended up working at Starbucks. Life lessons are, um, learnt. Wow, when Tom shills, he shills.

Makes me think he’s being doing this all along and I’ve just never noticed. Let’s see… Forest Gump was about pushing chocolates; The Da Vinci Code = more copies of the book; Toy Story – duh, toys; The Man With One Red Shoe, um, pairs of shoes. Ok, I’m stretching now. Feel free to leave your own Tom Hanks Shill-o-Matic suggestions.


  1. Well, of course, there were lots of toys in Big. And Bosom Buddies was all about cross dressing accessories...

  2. Very interesting...I hadn't thought about this or I might have included it in my post this morning about the new movie...perhaps you could add that comment on my blog, I think it's very interesting and true about AOL.

    --RC of