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Here's Why Martha Stewart Appeared in an Ad for Throat Drops Last Night

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It was the low-budget ad heard around the world -- or at least, among Twitter users glued to the Golden Globes broadcast on NBC Sunday Night.

The ad was a soft-focus, '90s-looking spot featuring Martha Stewart, shilling Pine Brothers Softish Throat Drops, which the 72-year-old businesswoman declared an "experience," while at the same time reminding us that she doesn't do that many commercials.

Ms. Stewart, who was in the news last week for an account of her exacting beauty regimen published in The New York Times, wasn't even the first choice for the ad, according to Rider McDowell, co-owner of the Carmel, Calif.-based company, who, along with his wife, bought the company a decade ago from Swedish company Leafs Brands.

In an email to Ad Age, Mr. McDowell said that he had initially hired an "exceedingly famous actress, a movie star," for a five-year contract to be Pine's spokesperson, in which she would appear in TV, internet, print and radio spots for the company. In mid-September, Mr. McDowell flew to California with former "SNL" writer Fred Wolf, who was directing the spots, and rented a presidential suite at the Waldorf Towers in Beverly Hills.

The actress, however, flaked. Mr. Wolf then asked Mr. McDowell who his first choice would be to play the part, if he could have anyone. Mr. McDowell chose Ms. Stewart, then tracked down her agent and made his pitch. "It just so happened that Martha loved Pine Bros.," and was "delighted" that they were coming back. She showed up in an hour with a change of clothes and a hair and makeup person. They shot the spots in 40 minutes. Mr. McDowell said the budget for the commercial, including for talent, was under $1 million.

The spots have since run on women-oriented daytime shows including "Ellen," "Live!," "The View," as well as some "Jeopardy" broadcasts. They began running in November. "We find that our demo is largely women," said Mr. McDowell. The spot appeared in the pre-show, during the awards themselves and in the post-show coverage.

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