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Docu-Ads. Marketing realism in 30-second spots.

A PRINCIPAL SPONSOR OF the Live Aid broadcast, AT&T, concocted a special advertisement for the occasion—documentary footage of starving Africans accompanied by AT&T’s familiar theme song, “Reach out, reach out and touch someone!” The nicest thing the message seemed to be saying was “call Ethiopia.” And what would we say to an Ethiopian? Getting any more food yet? Hang in there baby?

Coca-Cola was another sponsor of Live Aid and I was waiting for that big Christmas-tree-shaped mob of new, old, classic, cherry, diet, and caffeine-free people holding candles and singing, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.” It was an act of charity that Live Aid was not supported by the tough man who makes a tender chicken, or by Wendy’s, who could have flown Clara Peller to a desert wasteland to wail, “Where’s the beef?”

The AT&T ad backfired. You can’t run a jingle over emaciated faces and bloated bellies, no

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