Wrap Your Car In An Ad For Big Bucks

Journalists test drive the Smart car on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 in Detroit. The car visited the city as part of a 50-city road show designed to demonstrate why backers say the tiny two-seater is "the right car at the right time" for the United States.
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The New York Times reports that more people are turning their cars as billboards for such illustrious brands as Jamba Juice and Verizon Wireless.

Vehicle wrapping, as the practice is known, can get you a free car or payment of up to $800 a month for turning the family chariot into a commercial for the new Tide or Trolls, the endomorphic dolls with Don King hairdos.

Free Car Media, a Los Angeles advertising agency, has made happy motorists out of about 7,000 car owners by signing them up for ads. There's usually a little more to the job than just turning your car into a billboard, however.

Motorists are "instructed to park outside whenever possible, refrain from smoking, littering or swearing in their vehicle, and to attend a monthly influencer event where they hand out samples or coupons. They also have to send reports frequently with photographs to show where their cars have been," the Times writes.

Jerome Harris, 22, had his car wrapped for Trolls, the dolls with Don King hairdos.

"We weren't allowed to have alcohol in or around the car, or use profanity. When you're out, you're supposed to be representing the brand," Harris told the Times, apparently without a trace of irony.

Army's "Quick Ship" Bonus

Don't think for even a nanosecond that vehicle-wrapping motorists are the only Americans who are raking in extra cash. Many of the lucky men and women who have enlisted in the U.S. Army have accepted a $20,000 "quick ship" bonus, the Washington Post reports.

In exchange for this loot, the new recruits have agreed to report for basic training by the end of September. This will help the Army meet its year-end recruiting goals and, of course, get more troops into the pipeline for Iraq that much sooner.

A win-win situation, it would appear.

Not so fast, says the Post, citing experts who suggest reeling in willing recruits now may make it harder for the Army to meet its 2008 recruiting goals.

James Hosek, a defense manpower expert at the Rand Corp., thinks the bonus to be a smart move, but cautions it could attract the wrong people.

"There's a risk of bringing people in with lesser attachment or commitment to the Army," Hosek said. "Adding money will, for some people, sweeten the deal enough to persuade them to enter."

Does Starbucks Know Beans About Movies?

The Los Angeles Times reports that "Arctic Tales," the polar bear documentary, has taken in a disappointing $600,000 despite a promotional campaign by the coffee goliath.

But Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment, says money has nothing to do with it.

"Our measurement of success was not the box office," Lombard told the Times. "Our measurement of success was to do as much as we could to encourage discussion around the critical issue of today — global warming."

Say what?

Evidently, Lombard doesn't know much about Hollywood.

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    David Hancock is a home page editor for CBSNews.com.