Remember about a year ago, when Guardian announced with a bunch of fanfare that soccer star Mia Hamm was going to be their new pitchwoman for increasing benefits understanding among employees? I thought it was a great idea – but I admit that was mainly because I’m a big fan of Mia Hamm.

I’m less of a fan of Chris Noth, though, so I’m less enthusiastic about an announcement from the LIFE Foundation that the “Sex and the City” and “Law & Order” star will be their celebrity spokesman for this September’s Life Insurance Awareness Month. Noth will contribute to the awareness-building effort by sharing his story of how life insurance benefitted his family – his father and grandfather both were life insurance agents, and the expertise unfortunately was valuable after the sudden death of his father when Noth was a child.

The proceeds from his insurance helped Noth’s family during that difficult time and enabled his single, working mother to put three sons through college. Noth, LIFE announces, will draw on that experience to help Americans understand that in today’s difficult economic climate, the need for life insurance protection is more important than ever. Noth’s PSAs will run on LIFE’s website throughout the September campaign.

But will it work? Part of my enthusiasm for the Mia Hamm-Guardian partnership was I thought it was high time for benefits to get the slick, polished Hollywood treatment. We know that such efforts work – I mean really, where was Nike before the company hitched its wagon to Michael Jordan? But consumers don’t think of benefits like they do shoes, food, etc. – something they have a choice in and can (and should!) shop for. Now, health care reform may change the game on that, but right now, not so much.

So I’m less optimistic about celebrity-benefits pairings these days. But what do you think? Would you spend more time considering your benefits options just because Mia Hamm told you to? Are you moved to buy more life insurance because Chris Noth is all for it? Are celebrity spokespeople a good way to spark consumer action on benefits – yay or nay?

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