In the food world, one is exposed to all sorts of asinine PR speak — “lifestyle consultant” and “food personality” come to mind — but few terms stoop to the depressing depths of “brand ambassador.” What exactly is a brand ambassador? So far as anyone can tell, it’s publicistese for “paid spokesperson” or “corporate shill.” Aside from convincing people to drink their brand of kimchi-flavored vodka or eat their line of frozen doughnut holes, these shambassadors don’t practice any actual diplomacy or do their part to further global understanding and goodwill. In fact, there would arguably be more goodwill in the world if the term were disposed of entirely.
If you’ve never advised a foreign sovereign, you’re not an ambassador. If you’re getting paid by a company to promote its product, you’re not an ambassador. If your idea of the UN is a party in the Cooper Square Hotel with an Aston Martin DB9 parked in the lobby, you’re not an ambassador. It really doesn’t require a press release to figure that out.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 28, 2009