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Pop Pretenders Make Comeback in Gum Commercial

June 18, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Milli Vanilli pretenders are faking it again, and are getting paid for it.

Robert Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, who were shamed into giving back their Grammy awards last year after they were exposed for lip syncing the prize- winning music, are playing more make-believe in a new bubblegum commercial.

They are starring in the latest Care-Free Sugarless Bubble Gum commercial that provides a funny answer to the question: How long does the flavor last?

In this ad, the two performers are shown standing at separate music stands, appearing to sing an Italian opera duet.

But the sound track malfunctions, playing the same phrase over and over. Their startled looks show Pilatus and Morvan have been caught faking it again.

How long does the flavor last, a narrator asks. ″Until these guys sing it for themselves,″ he replies.

The commercial debuted on the cable network MTV last Friday and will run through the rest of the year, said Chuck Wallington, a spokesman for Planters LifeSavers Co. in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Wallington said his company and its admakers, FCB Leber Katz Partners of New York, sought out the Milli Vanilli duo for the commercial.

He said the entertainers remain popular with the teens aged 15 to 17 who the company wants to reach with pitches for its sugarless bubble gum.

But does the ad unintentionally indicate people can still make money off misleading people as long as they poke some fun at themselves later?

Wallington said he doubts teens will take away that message.

″We are not promoting any sort of greed or deception,″ he said. ″We are promoting maturity and strength through humor when you think about these guys and their ability to laugh at themselves and overcome adversity.″

Wallington declined to say how much Pilatus and Morvan were paid for the commercial. ″That’s proprietary,″ he said. But he conceded, ″All talent gets paid″ for work in commercials.

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