Had this exchange actually taken place, it would have been a joke at Lady Astor's expense. Nowadays, the joke is on us all. Financial self-interest has largely taken the place of integrity. Celebrities were the canaries in the coal-mine, hawking products and services that they would not be caught dead actually using. A-Listers—the top film stars—once only shilled in foreign markets—a clever Japanese television commercial perhaps, but no longer. Nowadays, even Oscar-winners happily hawk jewelry, cosmetics, and luxury goods to the domestic market.
In 1957, however, a precocious girl living at the Plaza Hotel stood firm. Kraft Foods offered Eloise’s creator Kay Thompson a quarter of a million dollars to endorse its caramels. In 1957 dollars, that would have paid the rent on Eloise’s suite at the Plaza Hotel for at least the next decade. However, Kay Thompson rejected the offer, explaining to her agent, “You just don’t understand Eloise. Eloise loves Rosemarie chocolates. Could you make the deal with Rosemarie?” Alas, Rosemarie was a local, New York City brand. It could never have come close to Kraft’s offer.