SPRINGFIELD — Springfield resident Doug Pitt is stepping out of his older brother's shadow in what might be the first "celebrity endorsement" that doesn't include either a celebrity or a product being endorsed.
Brad Pitt's sibling headlines a new ad campaign for Virgin Mobile Australia, which says the company wants to give Pitt a taste of his brother's lifestyle as part of its "celebrity deals at celebrity brother prices" promotion.
"Unlike his famous brother, Doug Pitt has never been the star of anything," the site reads. "So, Virgin Mobile has decided to make things fairer in the Pitt family."
In a two-minute video uploaded by Virgin Mobile Australia earlier this week, Pitt stands on the porch of a house and tells viewers to "come on inside, and let me take you for a tour."
The original video has already racked up over 250,000 views and been featured in numerous media outlets.
While the video may suggest so, it's not actually his Springfield home, or his car, in the ad. But Morey Mechlin, executive director of Pitt's Care to Learn foundation, says that the portrayal of Pitt himself is fairly accurate.
"Yes, he's a lot like the ad," she said.
The tour starts indoors, with Pitt showing off his "man room," where he likes to listen to '70s classic rock (on headphones, because his family doesn't share his appreciation) and boasting about his combination scanner/printer/faxer in an office.
Moving outdoors, the ad captures Pitt missing basketball shots on an 8-foot hoop and lamenting when the lawn mower doesn't start on the first try.
Virgin Mobile products do not actually factor in the video, though users are encouraged to engage with the campaign on the company's website.
Mechlin says the ad captures Pitt's self-deprecating sense of humor.
"Doug can be a real nerd, just like that commercial," she said.
However, while Mechlin was aware of Pitt's love of '70s classic rock, she wasn't so sure of Pitt building birdhouses in a garage.
"That's new to me," she said. "I was not aware of any birdhouse manufacturing."
In reference to a scene where Pitt prepares lasagna and says he fancies himself a bit of a gourmet, Mechlin added, "I have never seen him in the kitchen."
When contacted by the News-Leader on Tuesday, Pitt said that he is scheduled to appear on NBC's "Today" show on Monday, and did not want to answer questions before then.
Mechlin said that she and Pitt are excited about increased attention on Pitt's philanthropy, notably the Care to Learn Fund. Pitt is the owner of Springfield's ServiceWorld Computer Center and also has been involved in local real estate development. He is the former chairman of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.
Online reaction to the video has been nearly universally positive.
"It isn't much to see — and that's the point," wrote Ron Dicker for the Huffington Post. "Doug nails the part of the uncool suburbanite."
Lauren Indvik of Mashable also thought the humor came across well.
"Doug has clearly mastered the deadpan technique."