LAST CALL: Effort to sell fame provides Pittsburgh boutique firmwith priceless notoriety

A PR firm in Andy Warhol's hometown hoped the future he envisioned had finally arrived, the celebrity utopia in which equal-opportunity fame would be allocated to everyone in 15-minute increments. But fame costs money, and Rose, Stein and Associates' experiment proves not everyone is willing to pay.

A PR firm in Andy Warhol's hometown hoped the future he envisioned had finally arrived, the celebrity utopia in which equal-opportunity fame would be allocated to everyone in 15-minute increments. But fame costs money, and Rose, Stein and Associates' experiment proves not everyone is willing to pay.

The eight-person Pittsburgh boutique thought it would generate publicity and drum up new clients by auctioning 15 minutes of fame on eBay. The posting offered a media trainer, press kit, photo shoot, publicist, and makeover (if necessary), and guaranteed the winning bidder exposure to 2 million people.

"Everybody has a story. Anybody can be a celebrity, claimed agency president Dena Rose while admitting, "We use the word 'anybody' loosely. The eBay posting specifically excluded those with criminal records.

It's fame Rose, Stein is selling after all, not infamy.

Unfortunately, the $8,155 top bid fell "quite a bit below our reserve, Rose said. The posting fee turned out to be a great investment, however, garnering national and international media attention, including a short bit on CNN, and contacts from wannabe celebs.

Rose hopes to negotiate a scaled-down publicity program for the winning bidder, who hadn't been identified at press time. "We probably should show our stuff, she said.

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