BY OWEN MORRIS
I am a little
hungover late to the party on this one but it's too good to pass up. In case you don't watch the E! Network's, The Girls Next Door, it's a reality show on Hugh Hefner and his young girlfriends (plural) who all happen to have been Playboy playmates. One of the girls, Kendra Wilkinson, has been very vocal with her love of The Olive Garden, constantly promoting it on the show and on her MySpace page.
Only the Olive Garden doesn't seem to be particularly warm to Wilkinson's unpaid, straight-from-the-heart endorsements. In this hilarious Wall Street Journal article published Friday, it's clear that company officials are uncomfortable with the idea of Wilkinson and they refuse to comment. It probably doesn't help that, in the past, Wilkinson has tried to recruit Olive Garden employees to pose for Playboy.
Whether Olive Garden likes it or not, Wilkinson has become the company's defacto spokeswoman. Can you name the last time you remembered an Olive Garden commercial? Probably not. But for four seasons (soon to be five and also a movie) Wilkinson has been promoting The Olive Garden on The Girls Next Door and she shows no signs of stopping.
It's like the advertising version of What About Bob. As this story grows, it will be interesting to see if The Olive Garden pulls a Dr. Leo Marvin and starts openly fuming at Wilkinson.