If you know me, you know I have immaculate ethics, except sometimes in my personal and professional lives. But Twitter is also real life. And when A Soda That You Never Buy On Purpose reached out to me, offering to pay me the big bucks in order to promote their new product, I barely had to think twice before telling them, No, my reputation is more valuable to me than any number of vanloads of cash you are offering. My blogs are like jewels to me, but your enormous check with so many zeroes it would probably have to be one of those big cardboard novelty checks would taste like ashes in my mouth.
A couple of weeks ago, a marketing firm emailed me with a "paid opp," telling me that A Soda That You Never Buy On Purpose was introducing A New Flavor That Kind Of Sounds Like My Name But Not Really. The very nice marketing rep told me that they would be happy to send me, and other prominent-but-obviously-not-as-prominent-as-me people named Barry, a case of this new flavor before it was released to the general public, and it was implied that in exchange for "first dibs" and also money I would tweet about the product. They asked me for "my rates," which means how many sacks of cash with dollar signs on them I would command in order to pour my ethics down the drain like so many warm soda dregs. I do not have "rates"; I have the ethics.
Too many ethics, perhaps. In retrospect I should have at least found out how high they'd go, so this story could be reported out more thoroughly and for no other reason. But I declined immediately, before I even thought of that. I am simply oozing virtue, sometimes to my detriment.
But not all Barrys are so virtuous. In the last couple of days, several well-known Barry and Barrylikes have publicly promoted The New Flavor That Kind Of Sounds Like My Name But Not Really. If you see these tweets out there, now you know that the celebrities are being compensated monetarily and might not actually enjoy the taste of the soda, no matter what they claim. (This is a little peek behind the curtain of an industry I like to call "advertising.")
Here is a list of Barrys who are not as principled as I am:
- Barry Manilow. Don't you have enough money, man?
- Barry Williams, aka Greg Brady. You probably don't.
- Former UNC hoopster Joel Berry II. Hey, you're not a Barry!
- ESPN fantasy weirdo Matthew Berry. He'll endorse anything.
- Musician David Berrie. We're getting kind of far afield from "Barry" here.
- Black-ish creator Kenya Barris. If I had agreed to do this perhaps they wouldn't be reduced to these non-Barry reaches. Frankly I feel sorry for them.
Those are just some of the less-than-righteous Barrys and Almost Barrys out there today. Sometimes I wonder how wealthy I could be if I had even a smidge less virtue. I guess I shall never know.
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