Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Oct. 8, 2003 / 12 Tishrei, 5764

Lenore Skenazy

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Putting my money on the new $20 | Nikes. Wheaties. Camrys. Twenties. What do these items have in common?

They all have multimillion-dollar ad campaigns behind them. Yes, the federal government is spending $33 million to introduce the newly redesigned, peach-and-blue-tinted $20 bill that debuts tomorrow. What kind of ads?

SCENE: Two women in adjoining backyards, hanging money on their clotheslines:

JANE: Oh, Midge, my twenties look so dingy! Yours are so bright!

MIDGE: I'm using the new, improved double sawbuck, Jane.

JANE: Darn it all! Your kids are smarter, your house is bigger, and now your $20s are fresher!

MIDGE: Don't forget my husband is better looking, too. Just like the new $20!

Fade out on cackling Midge as Jane reaches for ice pick.

Actually, no - that's not one of the ads. Fact is, most of the ad money is being spent not on commercials, but on unusual promotions.

For instance, pictures of the new bill are going to start popping up on ATMs countrywide. Educational packets are being sent to businesses that deal with cash all the time, like McDonald's. And the government has even hired a Hollywood product placement firm to do for the $20 what it usually does for cans of Coke and fancy cars - i.e., ruin the flow of a movie by shoving the product into the plot. Thus, writers are trying to work the new bill into shows like "Law & Order" (Idea: Have a suitcase filled with money from a drug deal!) and "The West Wing" (Idea: Have a suitcase filled with money from Halliburton!).

But the real question is: Why? Why spend money to promote money? I mean, it's not like something people don't appreciate already.

Care for a $20, Steve?

No thanks. I'm trying to quit.

Donate to JWR

"We want [people] to know that this is genuine currency and what to look for," said Dawn Haley of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. "We're giving people the tools to recognize genuine U.S. currency."

Aha! Now that makes some sense. The $20 is being redesigned to make it harder to counterfeit. If people don't learn that it comes with special features like color-shifting ink that changes from copper to green, microprinting that spells out "TWENTY" and "USA" and two new eagles, one blue and one metallic green, they might not know what to look for in the new currency. They might not even accept it. And that, all joking aside, really could cause chaos.

Worse, counterfeiters could easily exploit that confusion by printing colorful new bills of their own.

So to help you make sure that the new $20s you're about to get are genuine, here is a list of what to watch out for. You know your tender is not legal if:

  • The two eagles are kissing.

  • The logo on Andrew Jackson's cape says FUBU.

  • Microprinted neck tattoo reads, "I (heart) The Bureau of Engraving & Printing."

  • Bill changes color when dipped in a Slurpee.

  • Banner across the White House says, "Over 280 million served."

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Lenore Skenazy is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.


10/01/03: Wall Street welfare means the little guy gets stepped on
09/26/03: The secret Post-Its of Chappaqua
09/15/03: Let's slam the phone on caller ID
09/03/03: Truth in small, medium & large
08/26/03: U.S. needs amnesty for amnesiacs
08/13/03: It's turning out to be a schadenfreude kind of summer
08/07/03: This helmet thing has loose ends
07/25/03: Hi-tech brain booster — stick it in your ear
07/22/03: Fat label is a loser
07/03/03: Like being stabbed through the heart with a three-tined plastic spoon
06/23/03: 'Like,' like, covers it all
06/16/03: Your career's over when...
06/09/03: FOUND! The Clinton outtakes
05/30/03: Some other tickets I'd like to see
05/28/03: Bottled up by HMOs
05/22/03: We have ways of making you sing
05/20/03: Losing interest in reality
05/13/03: Time & tech wait for no mom
05/08/03: Duck Peking, but not Chinatown
04/29/03: The new SUV - station wagons
04/22/03: Toy alarmists can often be real yo-yos
04/15/03: The Bud Lites of Manhattan
04/01/03: Is that a poem in your pocket?
03/26/03: The view from here --- powerless
03/24/03: Old soldiers never lie
03/18/03: May you choke on your mustache
02/28/03: Iraq needs a dose of reality (TV)
02/20/03: Call the kids the Reheated Generation
02/04/03: Welcome to Mourning TV
01/29/03: Sipping Starbucks on the sly
01/24/03: Golden arches are falling
01/14/03: Designs soar, critics fall flat
01/10/03: Don't smile for the camera
01/06/03: Have they no shame!? My sanity meter is running out
12/31/02: You know, like, resolved
12/23/02: Warning: Art ahead
12/05/02: Hey, boss! Can you hear me now?
12/03/02: Raw & steamy food fight
11/19/02: The new power tie
11/12/02: Googling be gone
11/05/02: Time waits for no blender
10/28/02: As debate rages about 9-11 memorial, a perfect one quietly appears
10/24/02: Your health, their wealth
10/10/02: Sometimes death opens up the door
09/24/02: Reality hits Mickey
09/19/02: Should you report me to the authorities?
09/12/02: War and love: Romance rises from the ashes
08/30/02: If beer is good, spinoffs are great
08/13/02: Braving difficult steps
08/08/02: Can't trust those tourists!
08/02/02: Enquiring about the 'stars'? I already know
07/26/02: Reunions that defy history
07/18/02: Where'd all the logos go?
07/12/02: He's why Boomers leap and twist
07/09/02: Hold on, my molar's ringing
06/25/02: Pitching the fish fork
06/11/02: Water fad is bottled nonsense 06/11/02: 06/07/02: He who brings menus deserves praise
06/04/02: Relish This! The World Trade Center Hot Dog Guy has been found
05/23/02: The return of the tight squeeze
05/15/02: A Little Too Spicy
05/10/02: Okay, start the movie already!
05/07/02: If you win the lottery, you may be out of luck
05/01/02: Driven nuts by drive-time cell phoners
04/16/02: Chats of a lifetime
04/10/02: This Pet Has a Tail to Tell
03/26/02: Hey, New York - Take a Haiku
03/21/02: Your 'victim,' is my 'survivor' is somebody else's 'hero'?
03/19/02: Terrorists, get out your No. 2 pencils
03/14/02: Tribute Has City Back at its Windows
03/06/02: Dumping Ted: Gray Day For the Baby Boomers
02/27/02: Sometimes, lying's the best policy
02/20/02: The Fad That Won't Fade Away
02/12/02: The smoking gun of white-collar crime is making some folks very happy
02/05/02: Exterminators are evolving, too
02/01/02: Don't suffer do drugs
01/22/02: The Blue Light of Happiness
01/18/02: Marlboro's surprising gift to U.S.
01/08/02: Hospitals make me sick
01/02/02: Read-Aloud Resolutions
12/21/01: Nothing's Worse/Than Bad Verse
12/18/01: This Little Dog Bytes
12/13/01: Palm Pilot or Calendar? Paper Wins
12/07/01: The gift of 9/11
12/03/01: Altria Is Really Smokin'

© 2002, New York Daily News