“Two and a Half Men” has always provided viewers with eye-catching fun in the form of executive producer Chuck Lorre’s split-second vanity cards at the end of each episode. Now new “Men” star Ashton Kutcher is getting in on the action with some sly visuals of his own.
The actor-cum-Internet entrepreneur had a scene in the second episode in which he sits with a laptop covered with stickers that just happen to represent multiple companies in which he has a financial stake.
“Men” net CBS did not receive compensation for the plugs, according to a CBS spokesman, who noted that one of the companies plugged on the stickers, Foursquare, was disclosed in an end credit that accompanied the episode (as stipulated by the FCC).
“This was not part of any advertising transaction with CBS,” he said. “Our policy is to disclose such financial interests in a credit at the end of the broadcast.”
But other companies not listed yet clearly visible on the laptop included Hipmunk, which like Foursquare is clearly identified, and the logos of other Kutcher investments, including Flipboard and GroupMe. Another visible company name, Chegg, is not owned in part by Kutcher, but his shingle, Katalyst, handles social media for that firm.
Given that Kutcher is playing an Internet billionaire on the series, the stickers may be seen as a touch of authenticity. But he’s been criticized in the past for being a bit too aggressive when it comes to self-promotion. Kutcher raised eyebrows last month when, as guest editor of Details magazine, he touted numerous companies in which he had invested without clearly disclosing his involvement. He has also been criticized for doing same on his Twitter account, where he has a massive following.