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Would You Like Tyra Banks With That?

August 28, 2007

Everett & Jones, a barbecue restaurant in Oakland's Jack London Square area, is, deservedly, one of the most popular places to eat in the East Bay. It's always busy and bustling. On Friday and Saturday evenings, patrons often have to line up to get a table. It's easy to understand why. The meat falls off the bone, $4 will buy you a chilled, sweet beer in a glass as big as a pitcher, the greens are tender and the BBQ sauce is almost like spicy, liquid chocolatey in texture and taste -- it's not unlike Mexican mole in some ways. The food is served by friendly staff and the atmosphere is casual and family-oriented. In a part of the country where barbecue restaurants, despite the Bay Area's grand culinary claims, are few and far between and good barbecue is even more scarce, Everett & Jones is a destination spot for many lovers of ribs, yams and beans.

But if there's one thing that puzzles me about Everett & Jones, it's Tyra Banks. For some reason, the supermodel and TV host's face is all over the joint. She's there on the front door and preserved under the plastic cover of each copy of the menu.

Celebrity endorsement strikes me as a curiously old fashioned thing. Yet even today it's everywhere. But what is it about celebrities putting their names and faces to products that makes us want to spend our money on those products? Is it simply the power of recognition? In the case of Everett & Jones' affiliation with Tyra Banks , the endorsement is absurd, almost comical.

Everett & Jones doesn't need Tyra. The ads in the restaurant claim that she loves Everett & Jones and eats there all the time, but I doubt it somehow. If she did, she certainly wouldn't be a size zero.

I don't suppose Tyra's face brings anyone through the door who wasn't already pining for a plate or ribs. At the end of the day, the best advertisement for the restaurant is actually the smell of sweet BBQ sauce and roasting chickens which makes you drool as you walk past.

3 Comments:

  • If you've seen any recent episode of America's Next Top Model, it looks like Tyra has put on a few lbs. recently, so maybe she has been scarfing down the BBQ. And if you'd like your ribs sans Tyra, maybe go to the original Everett & Jones in Berkeley on San Pablo Ave.

    By Blogger KT, At August 28, 2007 at 2:17 PM  

  • I have to agree with kt here. Tyra has admittidely put on a few pounds. And even if she hadn't, you can't extrapolate that she doesn't eat ribs often. Sure it is not the most healthy food, but many models have splurge food(s). Tyra may have said that she has eaten at Everrett & Jones many times (but "many times" is relative). So for a model, maybe 3 times a year is "many times".

    Celebrity endorsements have been a vital part of marketing lore. Just because it may seem passe, doesn't necessarily mean it is. Celeb endorsements have always been an important cog of the capitalistic "buy, buy, buy" machine. People identify with people, so if my favorite actor drives a BMW, then on some level I may identify with BMW more.

    On the other hand, as we mature and get older, we gain the ability to see thru the veil of celebrity endorsements. But that is for the person who has decided that celebrity endorsements are generally nothing but hot air.

    How many people who have never played golf, but want to start, would buy a set of clubs endorsed by Tiger Woods? (Attaching Tiger Woods name to a set of clubs connotes images of THE BEST, RECORD SETTER, PHENOMENAL, and everybody wants to think of themselves in such a way.)

    In my opinion, it is much easy to see why marketers would want Tiger Woods to endorse a set of clubs.

    Tyra and BBQ??? There is no connection that I can deduce, other than she likes the ribs. If I eat the ribs, will i be a successful model like Tyra? If I eat their ribs, will i get a tvshow like Tyra? No.(there is no connection to to success and eating at the same restaurant Tyra eats at)

    And if I buy that set of clubs that Tiger endorses, will I play like Tiger. NO! But at least I can align myself with the most successful golfer ever and hope that the clubs he has endorsed are of a quality that may take my game the next level.

    By the way, I don't golf and I haven't eaten at Everett & Jones.

    Michael
    The Cool As Hell Theatre Podcast

    By Blogger Michael, At August 28, 2007 at 3:35 PM  

  • Great work.

    By Anonymous Kylene, At October 21, 2008 at 9:00 PM  

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