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You're the Ad Now: Why Marketers Need You to Do Their Job

Ads used to tell you about products. Then they made you feel good about them. Now, you're the ad.

Two weeks ago, snack brand Popchips suffered a major blow to its public image when it released an ad featuring Ashton Kutcher wearing brownface and speaking in a bad Indian accent.

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What the Ashton Kutcher Brownface Controversy Says About Race in America

A new Ashton Kutcher commercial reminds us that America's South Asians have a long way to go for equality.

The Ashton Kutcher Brownface Controversy, in which the former That '70's Show star painted his face brown and adpoted an East Indian accent in a web commercial for Popchips, says some interesting things about society. In the commercial, which is set up as a video-dating bio, Kutcher plays Raj, a bachelor who dances around and says foolish things in a bad accent. Kutcher, in case you've never been treated to one of his performances, is not a talented thespian. It's one of a series of faux-dating videos Kutcher made for Popchips—in the others he plays Darl, a diva; Nigel, a hippie; and Swordfish, a sweet biker. The Raj character is described as "an optimist who is Indian."

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When Is Public Art Not Public? When It Stars in a Movie

A Los Angeles museum charged the recent Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher film a fee to shoot under a famous public artwork by Chris Burden.

The cinematic quality of Los Angeles's iconic public artwork Urban Light is undisputed. Chris Burden's forest of streetlamps, positioned in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is so often photographed that LACMA turned user-submitted photos into a book and exhibition. Access to the lights is never restricted, and at all hours of the day you'll see people using the warm, soft light as a backdrop for wedding photos, music videos, headshots (this is L.A.), and student films. In fact, when I was there the other day, I saw this scene playing out just as the lights flicked on for the evening. How cool that the museum lets this kind of filming go on, I thought. It's like a little public theater on Wilshire Boulevard.

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