Lindsay Lohan, Desperate for Money, in Fornarina Campaign

Lindsay Lohan, strapped for cash, is starring in a campaign for trendy apparel chain Fornarina (see video below). The commercial has been soundly panned by reviewers, including Adfreak ("ghastly"), the LA Times ("cheesy"), and this blog ("disturbingly bizarre").

The tie-up turns the spotlight on an interesting effect that the recession will have on endorsement deals. As fewer movies, CDs, and so on, get made, it becomes harder for celebs to make a living. Those living off their investments are seeing their assets decline. (Check out the list of Bernie Madoff victims and you'll see Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Bacon and Eric Roth.) Even those that avoided Madoff suddenly don't have quite the equity in their stocks and real estate holdings that they did two years ago.

Which means that some big names are suddenly very available, very cheaply, for commercial endorsements.

Lohan, of course, has a set of her own issues. She has an historic substance abuse problem. She most recently starred in one of the worst movies ever made, 2007's "I Know Who Killed Me." And she seems to lack the self-control that would enable her to groom her image and get back to work.

The NY Daily News reports that Lohan is close to broke:

"Lindsay's money situation has never been great, but it's only gotten worse over the last month. For every dollar she makes, she spends double. Her personal appearance fees are literally the only thing keeping her afloat."

... "It's scary when you realize, 'Oh my God, I'm not working. And I have a house to pay for now,' " Lohan says in April's Nylon.

Which explains why a second-rung design house like Fornarina can get the actress -- still one of the biggest names on the planet -- to star in a YouTube video and on its web site (pictured).

The ad itself isn't terrible, it's just kind of lame, using all the usual model/catwalk cliches employed by companies that want to be trendy but lack a strong sense of brand identity. Here's the script, as recited by Lohan, in full:

Click. Flash. Wow. Bang. Wink. Smack. Fornarina. Splash. Smash. Crash. Glam. Pink. Heart. Fornarina.
The entire effort is as shallow as Lohan's bank account.