Olive Garden disses Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson
Wilkinson, for her part, remains unabashed. The 23-year-old, who lives with Hugh Hefner and two other of his girlfriends, takes every opportunity to talk about how much she loves the food at the Italian eatery -- even when traveling in Italy. She has sponsored a modeling contest for Olive Garden waitresses, talked about the restaurant on TV and her MySpace page and generally caused the owners of the Olive Garden, the Darden Restaurant group, which also owns Red Lobster, to blush.
The Journal details the few notable dust-ups: Jay-Z boycotting Cristal champagne after the CEO of the company seems to disparage the rappers who loved the brand; Tommy Hilfiger constantly dodging rumors that he didn't appreciate the popularity of his clothes with the hip-hop set; political candidates staying mum on unsolicited endorsements from unsavory celebs, and, of course, Playboy sponsoring modeling contests for McDonald's employees.
Most of the time, companies are trying to give their products away to any celebrity that will take them. Called "swag" (for "stuff we all get") the freebies range from branded t-shirts to $10,000 vacations -- and all now are taxable. Gift bags for major award shows can be worth over $100,000, and anyone who has ever been in show business can score tens of thousands worth of stuff just for showing up at the Sundance Film Festival.
As an entertainment