No one is headed to Hollywood, but maybe someone will get paid
No one’s acting career will be launched by Comptroller Peter Franchot’s latest YouTube ad, but it might reconnect some Marylanders with their long-lost property. The ad is a parody of the GEICO insurance adds featuring a wad of cash and Groucho Marx glasses. Franchot’s version is intended to promote the agency’s unclaimed property program.
Franchot’s latest video ad on the much-trafficked Web site debuted Thursday before a group of residents at Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville. Just some captive elderly viewers and no red carpet or paparazzi — in keeping with the low-budget, viral nature of the ads. According to the comptroller’s office, Maryland Public Television produced the 3-minute, 42-second spot at no charge.
The actors include state Sen. John C. Astle, an Anne Arundel County Democrat; the official Annapolis Town Crier, Squire Frederick; and Franchot aide Joseph Shapiro. And, of course, Franchot himself makes an appearance.
Franchot comes on screen at the end (like a candidate in a political ad) to lay out the stakes: “Every year my office gets unclaimed property from bank accounts and from safety deposit boxes. When property isn’t claimed for three years, it’s turned over to the state of Maryland. And we try to reunite it with its rightful owners.”
A government official trying to reunite residents with their money? Novel concept. The agency has records on about 787,000 accounts worth more than $795 million. To see if any of it is yours, go to www.marylandtaxes.com or www.missingmoney.com.
Oh, and to see the ad, click here.
NOTE: Michael D. Golden of Maryland Public Television called to say that his outfit produced the spot for Franchot's office in exchange for graphic design services.