Ashton Kutcher: Genius marketing man or annoying peddler?

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Image Credit: CBS

Less than eight minutes into the second episode of Two and a Half Men, Ashton Kutcher — as the internet billionaire Walden Schmidt — is seen lounging on the couch with his laptop open, annoying the crap out of his ex on the phone. But it’s not the conversation that is significant (though his yuk about using baby shampoo is pretty funny). It’s his laptop: Stuck to the top of his computer are a series of bright-colored decals touting specific companies, including ones favored by the actor himself.

Turns out the stickers represent a bunch of companies that Kutcher has a financial stake in — including Foursquare, Hipmunk,  Flipboard and GroupMe, as reported by Variety. Another decal touts the company Chegg, which Kutcher isn’t personally invested in but receives social-media help from the actor’s production company, Katalyst. Look who’s winning now!

For what’s it worth, the folks at CBS don’t seem to be wringing their hands over how crafty Kutcher is — mostly because the decals are organic to his laid-back character. (The network wasn’t compensated for them, and Men creator Chuck Lorre was totally down with their usage). But CBS did disclose the Foursquare sticker at the end of the episode, as required by the FCC.

“This was not part of any advertising transaction with CBS,” a network spokesman told Variety. “Our policy is to disclose such financial interests in a credit at the end of the broadcast.”

Chances are most viewers over 40 didn’t give a second thought to all the decals; they were too busy focusing on Lorre’s always dependable jokes. But then Kutcher probably doesn’t want to reach those so-called fogeys anyway; its the internet-savvy 20-somethings that he hopes are giving Men a try for a first time in their multi-cam-hatin’ lives. And that’s called seeing the forest through the trees, people: CBS would probably gladly overlook a little free advertising for small companies if it means getting more of those elusive young male viewers at 9 p.m.

Did you even notice the decals?

Comments (111 total) Add your comment
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  • amy

    Did not notice the decals! Ashton is cute and sexy, it’s a shame the show’s gonna be cancelled! He’s easy on the eyes!

    • what

      yes at only 20MM viewers I’m sure it will be dropped by mid year

      • amy

        Of course people watched the first couple shows. Out of curiosity! But, will they keep watching? Don’t get me wrong I hope it stays on too! But we both know it won’t.

      • connor

        i like how amy knows what’s up. when she clearly doesn’t.

      • Lori

        I only ever watched this show because of Charlie. The guy from MTV really isn’t the same. Sorry.

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      • satirex

        I didn’t even notice the laptop (but then, I’ve never watched all that closely). I don’t think the show will keep drawing 20 million viewers a week, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it kept getting similar audiences to the ones the show got last season, which would be plenty for renewal for at least another season.

    • amanda

      “they were too busy focusing on Lorre’s always dependable jokes” is that supposed to be ironic? I’m shocked you like this lazy abortion of a show Ms. Rice. This show wouldn’t have made it past one season in the golden age of sitcoms(80’s to early 90’s) it will always shock me when people say they like this show.

      • Acaseofgeo

        Amanda, I’d say the “golden age” of sitcoms was 60’s to 70’s. To with, DVD, The Brady’s, AITF, MTM, M*A*S*H, (heck those last 3 alone are THE golden age of sitcom in a nutshell). But yeah, some great ones were in the period you cited.

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  • Kim

    I noticed them. I saw them, didn’t think they were his companies, but was like “why put decals on a rad computer?” I think people that do that are silly…

    • Templar

      I noticed them and thought it spoke to the sophomoric aspect of his role. He’s supposed to be immature and the stickers were very “high school”.

  • Menlo Boy

    Annoying peddler.

  • ^

    Where’s the story about Demi dumping him for cheating yet again?

    • OK

      Aren’t you the little ray of sunshine? I’ve seen your negative posts on other articles. Wow, sucks to be you doesn’t it?

      • Diggity

        The my post says she ended it today

      • Jack

        It looks like it sucks to be OK.

      • Lori

        girls dig that jesus look.. it’s so sexy

    • bigmac

      Good news for Demi — Charlie Sheen is standing by and will swoop in the second Kutcher’s gone…

  • mikeman

    i see more laptops with stickers on the back at starbucks than i see them without… slow news day, eh ew?

    • Shadowlands

      The story is relevant considering that it’s free promotion for companies that Kutcher has a stake in, which means that 20 million people see it (and advertising regulations can be implemented).

      I doubt that the folks at Starbucks with decals have as much influence…

  • Ryan Oceancrest

    I hope that they finally cancel Two and a Half Men. I am bored of it. It’s gotten so repetitious and monotonous. They are really dragging it on now and are treating audiences like idiots if they expect us to keep watching the series while they make it up as they go along with no idea of how it should end.
    They should have made it shorter but better written and they could have ended it by now.
    I’m glad Ashton Kutcher’s contract is only for one year. He can return to movies where he belongs. I can’t believe I said that.

    • LOL

      I can’t believe you said that either, again! lol You said that in another thread.

    • maya

      and stop saying that Ryan : Ashton Kutcher doesn’t belong in movies at all !

    • bill

      this show won’t last another season.. this was just some grudge match between lorre and charlie.. I’m over it.

  • Fogey

    People still watch television? How quaint. Although, I’m one of those young over-40 people, bored with all that retro hipster technology like television.

    • jill

      Under 35 and didn’t even notice the stickers.

  • Jeff Alexander

    I did not notice the decals, thank goodness.
    Annoying actor (?), annoying peddler!

  • Jeff Alexander

    As a followup, I watched the first two episodes out of curiosity to see if Ashton Kutcher was as bad as he used to be on That ’70’s Show. He was OK, but he brought nothing to the show that anyone else couldn’t have done. I don’t plan to watch anymore.

  • Diane

    Horrible actor but Flipboard is pretty cool

  • iHeart

    I noticed the decals but I didn’t think there was a specific significance

    • bill

      cavemen don’t use laptops

  • Jamie

    I happen to think the show is completely UNfunny & I really miss Charlie Sheen-i realize now he made the show and cannot be replaced!!

    • Ice Queen

      Common Jamie – give it up. Charlie is never coming back. It amazes me how these whiners keep begging for Charlie to come back and “save” 2-1/2 Men from cancellation. You’d think he was the best thing since sliced bread. Get over it already – it’s just a 1/2 comedy show on CBS. Why don’t you whine about something important.

      • Jamie

        I am QUITE aware he Charlie is NOT coming back-I don’t even want him back! I just think the show is not the same without him and it needs to be cancelled!

  • Rya

    CBS has their logo on the bottom the screen during every show. His logos will never bother me as much as theirs does.

  • Ellen

    I noticed them. Figured it was a marketing ploy. And I’m 24.

  • Anon.

    I normally think that people who correct writers are picky and pretentious, but I just HAVE to write this or else it is going to bug the crap out of me. Lynette, the phrase is “see the forest for the trees” not “through the trees”. There! I feel better. Now I’ll be able to sleep tonight.

    • Jon Yeager

      And now you know how those other picky and pretentious feel when THEY spot something that bugs the crap out of THEM. Now might be a good time to stop calling them picky and pretentious. What do you think?

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