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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 12/12/2007

Paris Peddles Her Party Girl Rep

By Liz Kelly

Feeling rich: Hilton is on hand to launch the new Rich Prosecco campaign in Berlin today. (Marcus Brandt/AFP/Getty Images)

Nothing says class like champagne in a can. Unless that nothing is a gold spray-painted Paris Hilton writhing on a cracked, post-apocalyptic Earth. Sounds kooky, I know, but maybe kooky does wonders for canned champagne sales?

In any case, the gold-encrusted Paris (NSFW) is the new face air-brushed body of Rich Prosecco. A promotional Web site for the 21st century Zima describes it as "The perfect "starter drink" for your night." Apparently the copywriters stopped short of adding "have several hours before your arrest on suspicion of DUI -- just like our poster girl, Paris Hilton!"

And that is the crux of what most bugs me about this ad. There's just something impertinent about a woman who has a record of driving while intoxicated hawking "starter drinks" to anyone who might possibly be interested in coming by their buzz courtesy of a "sparkling, fruity, fresh, ice cold" can of bubbly. Maybe I'm guilty of a little profiling here, but this drink -- and its marketing campaign -- has a young female demographic written all over it.

I join Celebritology TV Hottie of the Year Tina Fey in worrying about the influence Paris has on teens, and even tweens. Fey, who once called Paris a "piece of sh**," says she "regret[s] sinking to that level of discourse. But Paris is a terrible role model and a terrible young woman. She needs to be ignored."

Amen. We may stop short of ignoring her here, though, as we have important work to do pointing out her shortcomings and unapologetic exploitation of her status as a party girl. Before the ink was dry on her deal with Prosecco, any promise of a reformed Paris Hilton (who in June told Larry King that she had a new outlook on life and was ready to transition into a life of charity work) was officially consigned to the dustbin of convenient utterances.

In perhaps one of the most prescient quotes of the year, law professor Laurie Levenson told CNN at the time that she was skeptical of Paris's avowal to transform herself, saying that a good Paris Hilton may not necessarily be good for business: "Sometimes society likes the naughty Paris Hilton. We like a bad girl."

By Liz Kelly  | December 12, 2007; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Paris Hilton  
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