Maxwell House, like any good corporation, gives money to good causes. It then publicizes said good causes in hope that this makes people think warm and fuzzy thoughts when they are going down the supermarket aisle and consider buying Maxwell House coffee. To help draw media attention, it helps to hire a celebrity. That’s a basic, reliably useful formula.
In this case, the coffee giant uses Julie Bowen (right) as its national spokeswoman.
The actress, whose had regular gigs on NBC’s “Ed” and ABC’s “Boston Legal” (plus a notable guest role on “Lost”), is now an Emmy-nominated star on the hilarious ABC sitcom “Modern Family.” The show is so well liked and so well established after just two seasons, I expect she’ll be playing the neurotically harried yet fun-loving Claire on the show for many years to come.
Her presence in Atlanta convinced me and three TV stations to stop by, though the affiliate that airs “Modern Family” passed.
She flew into Atlanta to help out with renovations at the eight-year-old Adamsville Recreation Center, which won $50,000 from Maxwell House’s “Drops of Good” project thanks to local votes. Partnering with the non-profit group Rebuilding Together, the center was able to repair its roof, re-tile part of the pool area, fix the drainage system, upgrade some landscaping and add Wi-Fi. It’s one of five community centers nationwide getting a facelift.
“It’s a natural fit,” she said, of her relationship with Maxwell Coffee. “I drink a lot of coffee!”
While I was there, Bowen cheerfully painted a mural with a few of the kids. She was most bemused when they called her “ma’am,” which she attributed to Southern kindness, if not respect, even if it made the 41-year-old mother of three feel old. Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony using comically over-sized blue scissors, she also dug a hole for a rose bush, mostly for camera purposes since she was quickly rushed back inside to do more interviews. (Not that she wouldn’t have been willing to work longer if she had been given a chance.)
The Maxwell House folks also had a tent outside offering free hot coffee for volunteers. This was probably a good thing when it was 75 degrees at 8 a.m. but by the time I was over at the tent closer to noon, it was almost 90 degrees. I grabbed some decaf anyway though I heard later there was an iced option, too.
Here are some shots of Bowen from the event today:
And here she is talking with me about why she jumped aboard this Maxwell House project, the physicality of her role on “Modern Family” and the fact the Dunphys go to Jackson Hole, Wy. for a vacation during season three:
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog