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Dennis Rodman is pretending to be nice instead of naughty for Eastman Kodak Co. this holiday season.

The infamous cross-dressing Chicago Bulls basketball star has been hooked by J. Walter Thompson USA, New York, for the latest TV campaign to promote Kodak's Advantix brand in spots for the important holiday selling season.

Advantix teasers describing the advantages of the Advanced Photo System line begin this week, the first ads for the brand since September. Spending is estimated at $10 million.


After Thanksgiving, Mr. Rodman begins appearing in spots where he wants the camera system so much that he is willing "to stop being naughty and start being nice." Various executions show him helping an elderly woman rescue her cat from a tree and donating his women's clothes to a thrift shop.

Concerned about the unpredictable personalities of celebrity endorsers-and Mr. Rodman's flamboyance-Kodak tested three spots in 11 cities in mid-November.

"It was to validate the concept as effective but also to determine if there is risk to Kodak's reputation," said a spokesman, who emphasized that the relationship with Mr. Rodman is limited to the holiday spots. The company found a 98% identity rating and no adverse reactions.

Mr. Rodman also will be used in radio ads and point-of-purchase materials, with an option for one public appearance that hasn't been determined yet.

Despite shortages of Advantix this year after its unveiling, Kodak said the distribution problem was behind it. "We think there will be an adequate supply to meet demand," said the spokesman.

Kodak's brand-focused agency, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, won't break its anticipated additional "Tall tales" ads until 1997. Shooting on three spots begins in December.

Contributing: Laura Petrecca.

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