The Diary: Drink giant in fame game

Antonia Prebble is the new face of Frucor's low-sugar drink range. Photo / Babiche Martens
Antonia Prebble is the new face of Frucor's low-sugar drink range. Photo / Babiche Martens

In a curious connection, Just Juice announced it has signed actress Antonia Prebble as the face of a low-sugar juice range, which was launched on the market two months ago, according to the company's website.

Corporate brands trying to leverage off star power is nothing new. Expat Paul Henry is the "mean" face of Snickers and All Black Dan Carter is linked to luxury French label Louis Vuitton, makers of his custom-made shoes.

The decision by Frucor to team its Just Juice with 50 per cent Less Sugar brand alongside Prebble - a local television and theatre actor - appears somewhat tenuous. A PR rep for Frucor said Prebble rated well in consumer research.

In a press release issued by the company yesterday, Prebble explains: "As an actress, I need to be fit and healthy and this new juice range means I can keep my sugar intake low while still enjoying the sweet taste of juice."

Presumably the drinks giant is paying the 28-year-old handsomely. Selling out for the corporate dollar is more de rigueur these days.

Actor/director Taika Waititi fronts a beer commercial and Lucy Lawless once endorsed a petroleum conglomerate before dramatically switching teams to Greenpeace.

Broadcaster Mike Hosking was controversially given a card entitling him up to almost $50,000 in cash and perks from SkyCity - friends of Hosking reportedly insisted he worked for his money, regularly MCing and doing commercial work.

TVNZ later ruled that the occasional Close Up host would not be allowed to cover stories about SkyCity because of a "perceived conflict of interest".

GUEST SPEAKER GORE IS STAR ATTRACTION

He won't be rubbing shoulders with Washington's Democratic Party elite three weeks out from the US presidential election. Instead, former Vice-President Al Gore will jet into Auckland for a one-night-only speaking engagement.

Gore, 64, will deliver his first public presentation in New Zealand on sustainable capitalism at a glittering gala dinner on October 12 hosted by TV3's John Campbell.

Duco, the event company bringing Gore here, says his links to innovation and new technologies are part of the attraction. "Gore offers so much more than just a powerful voice on climate change," said director David Higgins.

Since leaving politics, Gore has reinvented himself as a climate change activist and a consultant about greenhouse gas emissions, accumulating a Nobel Peace Prize and an Academy Award.

He's made a lot of money, too, with an estimated net worth believed to be more than US$100 million ($123 million), according to the New York Times. Gore is a board member of Apple, an adviser at Google, a partner at a Silicon Valley venture capital firm and the chairman of a London-based investment management company.

Then there's the foray into media. Current TV, a cable television network co-owned by Gore, began as a public affairs channel with plans to transform into a prime-time news network in the manner of CNN.

Paul Henry was in secret negotiations last year to join Current TV, before talks fizzled and media mogul Lachlan Murdoch and his large chequebook appeared on the horizon.

Henry told The Diary it was an exciting time. He flew to Los Angeles to have chats with Gore's TV channel at the same time his biography went to number one in New Zealand.

Kiwi carbon technology company LanzaTech is said to also be of interest to Gore. The Diary understands he secretly met representatives of the firm on a clandestine visit in March while in the country to look at investment opportunities. LanzaTech did not return calls.

Gore, who split from his wife Tipper, is reportedly now dating Elizabeth Keadle, a fellow environmentalist and Democratic Party donor. However, there's no word on whether she'll be joining Gore on his visit to Auckland.

Tickets to the gala dinner ($6995 plus GST for a table of 10) are expected to sell out fast, attracting both the sustainability-conscious business community and eco-friendly celebrities. Gore will, no doubt, give special mention to his next book - Drivers of Global Change, about world politics and economics - which is set for an August 2013 launch, a rep for Random House told The Diary.

TAIKA BRINGS COOL FACTOR TO FILM FEST

Taika Waititi, who came to critical attention with his Oscar-nominated short film Two Cars, One Night, has joined a list of stars endorsing an international short film festival coming to our shores.

Tropfest, the world's largest short film festival, will launch a New Zealand leg at the TSB Bowl of Brookland, New Plymouth, early next year and is open to the public.

Waititi has signed on as an ambassador for TropFestNZ, joining actors Sam Neill, Robyn Malcolm, Martin Henderson, producer/director Katie Wolfe and director/screenwriter Vincent Ward.

Their star-wattage is expected to bring credibility and drive publicity for the event.

Film-makers are invited to participate in next year's TropFestNZ and submit their entries via the festival's website, tropfest.co.nz. The winner will receive a trip to Los Angeles.

Follow Rachel Glucina on Twitter.

- NZ Herald

Rachel Glucina is New Zealand’s reigning gossip queen, notorious for breaking celebrity scoops and dishing dirt on the country’s best known personalities. She’s feared. She’s loathed. She’s courted by anyone with skeletons in their closet. Rachel knows where the bodies are buried. Mick Jagger wined and dined her. Mike McRoberts devoted a chapter to her in his memoirs. And John Key has her on speed dial.

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