Valedictorian paid to shill movie during graduation speech


There were two things wrong with valedictorian Kenya Mejia's speech at her recent high school graduation in Los Angeles, which she ended by announcing to the crowd, "I love you, Jake Minor!" Problem 1 -- she was paid $1,800 by a marketing firm to say it. Problem 2 -- Jake Minor was not her boyfriend, just a convenient former crush who was sitting in the student section wondering what the hell was going on.

According to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), the stunt was part of a viral campaign to promote the film "I Love You, Beth Cooper," from 20th Century Fox, whose studio is very near Mejia's school. The campaign was conceived and implemented by Creative Artists Agency's unit The Intelligence Group, along with an unnamed contractor.

In the film, the valedictorian of a fictitious high school announces his infatuation with Beth Cooper during his graduation speech. Sophomoric farce quickly follows. Mejia is probably fortunate she received a flat fee instead of points, as the $19 million film has tanked at the box office. The take from last weekend was only $719,468, and in total only $13.4 million. Last weekend G-Force alone brought in $31.7 million.

If schools don't lay down the law about the commercialization of graduation ceremonies, how long before the top of every mortar board is carrying a car ad, and the graduation robes look like NASCAR driver's suits? It's enough to make me spit up my Coors Light -- cold-filtered and frost brewed, it's the world's most refreshing brew.