Growing hair everywhere
Hair restorer ad embarrasses 'fuzz'
By MICHAEL McBRIDE
"New Generation is a shampoo and hair and scalp cleanser," the television advertising annoucer says in his best TV as voice.
"And to these people, It's much more."
Then on your TV screen appears a uniformed Sacramento County deputy sheriff standing in front of the sign identifying the downtown sheriff's headquaters building.
"TOTALLY BALD, almost the size of a silver dollar, on the back of my head," says the officer, a good-looking man - middle-aged, perhaps, with an appreciable amount of blond hair on his head.
"My widow's peak was going, and I'm growing hair everywhere. It really works. That's all I can say. It works."
Then, after an appearance by radio talk show host Tony Russell - also extolling the product - the officer reapperas, still in uniform, together with his wife.
Quoth the wife, running fingers through officer's hair: "It's all there and it's getting thicker by the minute (Giggle.) And it's fun."
THE OFFICER is identified in print as he speaks -- by name and the words "deputy sheriff."
The Sacramento County sheriff's department is not mentioned, either in print or in the text of the advertisment.
"We've been getting a lot of calls about it," said sheriff's spokesman Bill Miller ruefully. "Quite a few people were upset. We want to state categorically that that sort of thing is against sheriff's policy.
"We do not allow officers to do commercials in uniform or using county equipment. "What they do on their own time, out of uniform, is their own business as long as it doesn't discredit the department or cause a conflict of interest."
Miller said the television as appeaarances by two deputies, Murray Johnson-Stapp and Cliff Lunetta, were the result of confusion.
A supervisor gave them permission to do the commercials, he said, under the mistaken impression the appearances were to be on a news show. Such appearances are normally cleared through Miller, but he was not on duty at the time, he said.
"AS SOON AS I heard about it," said Miller, "I contacted the advertising agency.They were very cooperative and appologetic.
They were going to pull it off the air immediately, at substantial cost to themselves. They would have had we demaded it.
"But after discussing it with them, we realized that someone in the department may have been partially at fault.
"So I thought it wouldn't be right, under those circumstances, to have them suffer a loss by taking it off immediately."
Miller said the agency is taking steps to replace the commercial, however, and "it should be off very shortly."
The agent, CBC Advertising was not available for comment. Neither were Johnson-Stapp or Lunetta.
Another local law enforcement officer, Sacramento Police Department homicide detective Sgt. Ray Bryers, appears in simliar commercials, but he is not in uniform. His is a straight endorsement statement and his wife does not appear.
He is identified in print while he is talking as a "homicide sergeant." The Sacramento police department is not mentioned either by voice or print.
Bryers also was unavailable for comment. Miller said that, to his knowledge, none of the officers received monetary compensation for their appearances.