Jerry Seinfeld's recent team-up with Bill Gates for a bizarre set of advertisements has put me in mind of other famous celebrity endorsements — especially when it comes to Star Trek. The show's futuristic setting has left Star Trek relatively immune to product placement, but that hasn't stopped the franchise from appearing elsewhere to promote services both related and otherwise. I'm not speaking of the show's actors, taken out of their galactic context, hawking wares such as the Commodore VIC-20, but actual in-character sales pitches.
The most recent and famous example may be William Shatner plugging DirecTV:
Of course, once you find the DirecTV channel you want, put down the remote and get your hands busy with some finger-lickin' goodness:
Unfortunately, not all Star Trek tie-ins have such a healthy sense of humor. In much the way Mr. T puts the 'T' in 'IT', Jonathan Frakes appeared in this excruciating commercial in which the commander of the Enterprise sells enterprise software. Yet the impression the ad leaves is not of any particular IT solution, as its name is seldom, if ever, mention. (I'm told it's "Main View Enterprise Management software, and the commercial is from Blooper and Babbage")
Fortunately, Frakes later redeemed himself and the rest of the TNG crew when they applied their talents to a charitable cause:
Just like technology, eugenics, and Tribbles, commercial endorsement can be used for good or ill. May all our bottom lines live long and prosper.
(Hat tip to Dayton Ward)