A national TV commercial for Wonderful Pistachios starring Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, aired for the first time Sunday night during Game 4 of The World Series. Rod Blagojevich is one of several pop culture personalities appearing in the ‘Get Crackin’ campaign from Wonderful Pistachios.
The 15 second spot features the former governor dressed in a black suit, black shirt and neon tie. An unsavory character hands him a briefcase. The governor opens it and it’s filled with loads of pistachio nuts.
Then there’s a voiceover: “Rod Blagojevich does it innocently.”
“The contents in the suitcase are like the accusations against me–they’re nuts,” says Blagojevich. “I’d been eating these pistachios and enjoying them well before they asked me to do a commercial.”
Glenn Selig, the governor’s rep, believes the pistachio company wanted Rod Blagojevich because he’s a pop culture phenomenon and an intriguing public figure, who also happens to like these pistachios.
“People across the country have come to know Rod Blagojevich through reality shows, countless interviews and public appearances. So many people who didn’t even know him two years ago like him and believe he’s being wronged. They admire him for how he’s fighting back,” says Selig.
Since being accused of wrongdoing and subsequent impeachment as governor of Illinois because of what Rod Blagojevich describes as a politically motived ‘persecution,’ he’s been hired by NBC to appear and promote two of its reality shows. Blagojevich has also been compensated for speaking engagements and various public appearances and he wrote a book. WLS in Chicago, a top talk radio station, gave him a weekly show.
This is the first paid television commercial for Blagojevich, the former two-term governor of Illinois, affectionately referred to as “Blago.”
“The governor has a family to support and he’s happy to talk up a product that he believes in. So would he do another commercial? Absolutely,” says Selig.
Selig would not disclose how much Wonderful Pistachios paid the governor to do the commercial. It was shot in LA in September.
Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when then Sen. Obama was elected president. Blagojevich has strongly denied any wrongdoing. A federal trial over the summer ended with a hung jury on those charges.
In that trial, the former Illinois governor was convicted on a single charge of lying to the FBI. Last week a judge refused to nullify the conviction. Blagojevich will appeal. A retrial is scheduled for mid April.