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Scarlett Johansson Could Be the Tip of the Jewish Spokesperson Iceberg!

Enter The Tattler’s invented world of advertising, where Philip Roth, Mila Kunis, and other MOTs rescue failing brands

Rachel Shukert
January 24, 2014
SodaStream unveils Scarlett Johansson as its first-ever Global Brand Ambassador at the Gramercy Park Hotel on Jan. 10, 2014, in New York City.(Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SodaStream)
SodaStream unveils Scarlett Johansson as its first-ever Global Brand Ambassador at the Gramercy Park Hotel on Jan. 10, 2014, in New York City.(Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SodaStream)

Well, it’s official. The economy is tanked and there is no hope. In 10 years we’ll all be passing a nomadic existence as small bands of semi-cannibalistic hunter-gatherers in dystopian hellscape. How do I know?

Because SodaStream, aka the most perfect and influential product conceived in Israel since monotheism, is in trouble. I’m shocked beyond all sense, but perhaps for the more business-minded among you, it’s not really that much of a surprise. A personal carbonation system might have once been the wildest dream for so many of us, but it’s been around for enough years now that pretty much everyone who might ever want a SodaStream (or who didn’t put enough stuff on their wedding registry and thus received three of them from well-meaning and gift-perplexed friends) apparently already has one.

Still, SodaStream is still giving multiethnic world domination the old college try, including a splashy and much-hyped upcoming Super Bowl spot featuring the comely (and Jewish! I never get tired of reminding people she is Jewish!) Scarlett Johansson as the company’s first ever spokesperson. And she’s not the first new voice to be vouching for a famously Jewish company this year: The Ralph Lauren ad PBS is running before, after, and during every episode of Downton Abbey is narrated by Ralph Lauren himself; a good idea in theory, except for the fact that Ralph Lauren’s speaking voice sounds about as much to the manor born as one of those guys shoving a lulav at you in Washington Square Park. (I say this with love.)

But it’s a good idea, and it got us thinking: What other notable MOTs might give a tired entity the carbonation it needs to fizz?

Entity: Barnes & Noble
Spokesperson: Philip Roth
Sure, those Christmas ads with Kenneth the Page were cute. But who better to shame us into patronizing America’s only remaining major brick-and-mortal bookseller than America’s only remaining brick-and-mortar author? If anyone can guilt us away from the easy Sodom of Amazon, it’s Roth at his most cutting and censorious. Besides, he needs something to do if he’s really serious about not writing novels anymore.

Entity: The New York Times
Spokesperson: Mila Kunis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
She’s an old gray lady. They’re two hot brunettes. Think of it as a perfect romantic comedy—two non-related step-cousins must pull their beloved grandmother (the role of the Times will be played by Dame Maggie Smith) out of a long-term slump and end up falling for each other, as Grandma bravely flies off to cover the Syrian conflict from the trenches, like the good old days.

Entity: Calvin Klein
Spokesperson: Former leader of Hungary’s anti-Semitic Jobbik party and secret person of Jewish descent Csanád Szegedi
Calvin Klein made his fortune with his unparalleled design sense, but his name by courting controversy in his advertising. Unfortunately, pre-pubescent youths in their underpants don’t quite shock the way they used to, and his most recent campaigns don’t shock at all: Who among us hasn’t fantasized about being a flawless Aryan ubermensch floating bloodlessly in an infinity pool in our glass house by the sea? None of us, that’s who. Calvin needs to shake things up a little, and who better personifies the master’s own deeply conflicted personal identity than Szegedi, the deeply conflicted former neo-Fascist leader who found out—Karma Police! Paging the Karma Police!—that he was actually every bit as Jewish as … well, as Ralph Lauren. Besides, aren’t you just dying to see him lounging in Y-fronts next to a wood-paneled wall in a badly lit ’70s-era rec room? Don’t answer that.

Entity: Shia LaBeouf
Spokesperson: Rabbi Hillel [IN THE PERSON OF SHIA LABEOUF]
If you’re going to plagiarize statements that make you seem like a more enlightened, more spiritual being, why not steal from the best? If it was good enough for the New Testament (Golden Rule, anybody?) it’s good enough for the kid from Transformers. And when the inevitable Twitter blowback begins, he can say it’s all preparation for his starring role in the biopic Hillel: Revenge of the Sandwich.

Entity: Downton Abbey
Spokesperson: Noam Chomsky
It’s no secret that Downton Abbey has gotten, well, kind of bad over the last few seasons (or since the first one, but who’s counting?) and as the froth of the plot has cleared, more than one liberal-leaning television critic has sat up and taken notice that the show is in large part a right-wing apologia for the rigidity of the class system and the unquestioned power and wealth of a tiny aristocratic elite. And who better to hammer this point into the ground than the world’s leading anti-imperialist and general killjoy? Put Noam in a room with a few DVDs of Seasons 2 and 3 and he’ll come back with a screed so dogmatic and unrelenting we’ll be begging just to watch the pretty dresses again and dream of a day when we too might be permitted to fetch Lady Mary’s toilet paper while she stares melancholically into the distance.

Entity: Woody Allen
Spokesperson: Roman Polanski
Pity the Woodman. He’s made his most critically lauded picture in more than a decade, earned all kinds of award nominations, and gotten the Lifetime Achievement gong from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (not that anyone thought for a minute he was actually going to show up to get it). And what is the only thing anyone will remember? Frank Sinatra, Twitter hecklers, and a Russian novel’s worth of outraged think pieces digging up a 20-year-old scandal even he must have thought was finally behind him. Diane Keaton and her ghostly little campfire song may not be up to the task of running defense; what Woody needs is some good old fashioned moral relativism, and who better to lay it all out than good old fashioned Roman Polanski? Two great artists, two very questionable personal lives, but only one admission of guilt of a convictable crime. And then he could tell some stories about the set of Rosemary’s Baby, because you know that had to be a doozy.


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Rachel Shukert, a Tablet Magazine columnist on pop culture, is the author of the memoirs Have You No Shame? and Everything Is Going To Be Great. Starstruck, the first in a series of three novels, is new from Random House. Her Twitter feed is @rachelshukert.

Rachel Shukert is the author of the memoirs Have You No Shame? and Everything Is Going To Be Great,and the novel Starstruck. She is the creator of the Netflix show The Baby-Sitters Club, and a writer on such series as GLOW and Supergirl. Her Twitter feed is @rachelshukert.

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