Ashton Kutcher is the official President of Pop Culture. The actor-slash-enterepreneur-slash-twitterer (who now has over 6 million followers and counting) received the title in June 2010 after purchasing a minority stake in Popchips Inc.
The company makes a healthy heat and pressurized alternative to your average fried or baked potato chip. And Kutcher thinks it’s delicious. He explained his decision to invest in the three-year-old San Francisco-based snack-food maker to Suzanne Vranica at the Wall Street Journal in the following terms:
Listen, I’m going to eat these chips anyway.…If I can, why not actually own a piece of the company…As my image is being leveraged, I am participating in the upside.
Money wasn’t the only part of the deal. Kutcher’s Popchips investment was contingent on three conditions. He wanted to be President of Pop Culture, oversee social media for the brand, and have access to an endless supply of Popchips for his family and friends.
What has the 32-year-old done with his new position and as many Popchips as he can eat? Create some very good branded content.
Kutcher’s latest video promoting Popchips is a straight-up, spot-on spoof of the celebrity-obsessed, paparazzi-fueled, frenetic magazine TV show, TMZ. Kutcher plays the role of the tabloid’s creator and managing editor, Harvey Levin, constantly gnawing on a straw while listening to his staff report on all the fresh celebrity dirt.
Aside from a few funny pot shots, the only differences between Kutcher’s version and the original are the show is called Pop and, instead of celebrities, it covers the lives of those employed by TMZ.
Pop camera crews follow TMZ talent and catch them on tape in mundane situations. What’s uncanny is how the TMZ talent reacts. Awkward, annoyed, mostly unresponsive, and caught off guard. In other words, exactly how celebrities act when they’re caught on camera by TMZ.
Levin and company seem like smart people. You’d think they’d possess enough self-awareness to realize at some point, given the nature of their jobs, someone is going to shove a camera in their faces. And you’d think they would have thought about this a lot and maybe even planned for when it happens! And you’d think they’d at least have something special for the occasion, maybe a zinger or two or a fake “I hate you and your mother! I’m going to smash your lens, set the SD card on fire, and eat your children!” kinda freakout. But no, they act just like Mel Gibson. Fortunately, it still makes for great online video.