It was only a matter of time. After all, fictional sleuths usually have finite means, just like most of us. And advertisers are always looking for new ways to market their products and services. So, it simply made sense for fictional sleuths to start doing endorsements. The idea has a lot of potential, actually. Those sleuths have gotten millions of fans, which means millions of potential customers. And for the sleuths, it’s a welcome source of income. So, if you’ll ask your disbelief to go make some popcorn for TV-watching, let’s see what some of these television advertisements might look like.
Oh, and one important note: I do not personally endorse any of these companies. This is just for fun, folks!
When Sleuths do Advertisements
I. Signorina Elettra Zorzi (Donna Leon)
The camera pans a modern-looking office. Signorina Elettra is sitting at the desk, looking at her laptop computer. She turns and faces the camera:
In my job, I do a lot of work online. So I need a computer I can depend on every time. That’s the new Lenovo Thinkcentre Serie M. It’s got all the functionality I need, with the clean lines I want. And it’s got enough power to keep up with me.
Vice-questore Patta comes in and hands Signorina Elettra several papers. Then he looks up at the camera and gives a fake smile before exiting.
Even on my busiest days. There’s no limit to what you can do with a Lenovo.
She gives a sneaky sort of smile to the camera, glances quickly over her shoulder, and turns back towards the computer.
II. Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie)
Poirot is sitting at a dinner table, just finishing his meal. He looks down with dismay at an obvious stain on the lapel of his jacket.
Georges: Yes, sir?
Poirot: A spot of sauce, it has landed on my jacket!
Georges: So it has, sir. But there’s no need to worry. Astoria Cleaners will have that jacket looking like new in no time at all.
Poirot: Astoria Cleaners, you say?
Georges: Yes, sir. They’ve been in business for years, and always do a quality job. I wouldn’t consider any other cleaners for your clothing.
The camera cuts away to another scene. A smiling Georges is standing at a dry-cleaning counter. A smiling assistant hands him Poirot’s jacket. He turns and leaves the store. Then the camera cuts away again. Poirot is standing in front of a full-length mirror, wearing the jacket, which is now perfectly clean. The camera is positioned so that as Poirot looks in the mirror, he is also looking into the camera.
The good Georges, he knows what he is talking about. Astoria Cleaners has done a remarkable job with my suit.
Narrator’s voice: Astoria Cleaners. No matter how particular you are, we’ll make you happy.
III. Kinsey Millhone (Sue Grafton)
It’s late at night. Kinsey Millhone is sitting in her car, which is parked on a residential street. She is watching a house. It’s obvious that she’s exhausted. After a moment or two, she straightens up. The door of the house opens and a man walks out. Kinsey picks up a camera from the seat beside her and starts taking pictures. After a moment, she puts the camera down. The man looks her way and Kinsey speeds off.
The camera follows her car to a Taco Bell restaurant, where she pulls into the drive-through lane. She looks at the camera.
As a busy PI, I don’t have time to cook. That’s why I love Taco Bell. They have a great late-night menu, and convenient locations. So I can get what I want, whenever I want. And I don’t have to do the dishes afterwards.
She pulls up to the order window as the camera cuts away. In the next scene, Kinsey is pulled up at a traffic light, holding a burrito in her hand. She smiles at the camera.
I love my Taco Bell!
Voiceover narrator: Taco Bell. The choice of busy PIs everywhere.
IV. Russell Quant (Anthony Bidulka)
Russell is sitting in his office, with a radio playing softly. He looks out the window at a heavy snowfall. A voiceover narrator gives a weather forecast of sharply dropping temperatures and continued heavy snow. Russell’s face falls as he says,
I don’t know how much more of this I can take!
Then he gets an idea. He turns towards his computer and types for a moment on his keyboard. The computer brightens up, sends out a burst of light, and, through the magic of CGI, draws him into it.
In the next scene, he’s on a cruise ship, wearing an island-style shirt, happily sitting at a poolside bar, and holding a tropical drink. Next to him is a plate of delicious-looking hors d’oeuvres. Steel drum band music is playing softly in the background. A voiceover narrator says:
Got a case of the winter blahs? Royal Caribbean is the cure. Cruises leave regularly for exciting destinations like Hawai’i, New Zealand, and sunny Mexico. Book your adventure today, at RoyalCaribbean.com.
The camera does a close-up on Russell. He lifts his drink and says,
Now this is the way to do winter!
V. Inspector John Rebus (Ian Rankin)
Rebus walks into a pub where he’s obviously known. A few people look up and murmur greetings to him. The camera gets closer to him and it’s clear now that he’s had a long day. His clothes are disheveled, and he looks furious. He walks up to the counter.
Landlord: Are ye all right, John? You look like you’ve been through it.
Rebus: Aye, you could say that.
The camera pulls back, and we see some flashback scenes: Rebus arguing with a suspect; Rebus in a tense staff meeting; Rebus pounding his fist on a table as he’s trying to make a point.
Landlord: This’ll help. He reaches for a bottle of Highland Park, and the camera does a close-up on the bottle. A voiceover narrator says,
No need to let a bad day get the better of you. Not when you’ve got Highland Park single malt.
Rebus takes a sip of his whisky, smiles a little, and says,
I’m feeling better already.
Highland Park. The right choice when you’ve had one of those days.
VI. Elvis Cole (Robert Crais)
The camera pans part of Elvis Cole’s office. He’s sitting at his desk, brow furrowed in concentration, looking at the well-dressed, very conservative-looking client sitting across from him. His client is droning on about his case, and Cole gets steadily more bored. The droning continues, but much more softly as we hear Cole’s thoughts:
Ugh! How much longer is this going to go on? I need a break!
Cole glances over at his Pinocchio clock to check the time. The clock starts to glow, and a voiceover narrator says,
Sometimes, being a grownup’s no fun at all. We have the cure!
In the next scene, Cole, wearing Mickey Mouse ears, is riding on a roller coaster at Disneyland, with Joe Pike by his side. Cole’s screaming with joy, and even Pike’s grinning a little. The voiceover narrator goes on:
Take a break and escape! Great Disneyland packages are available now! Call the toll-free number on your screen or visit Disneyland.com for more information.
What do you think? Could our top fictional sleuths be good spokespeople? Which advertisements do you think they could do?