TV tower
Even the tiniest shred of media celebrity can help an ordinary person feel like "somebody."

A preoccupation with media appears to be the driving force behind the growth of predatory children’s talent agencies, which extract large fees from parents for courses that offer their children only the slimmest hope of appearing in, say, a dog food commercial.

It is plainly not the experience of hawking pet food that these parents crave for their offspring.  Nor is it plausible that parents are motivated primarily by the money that their children might earn as models:  the fact that the parents can afford the agencies’ fees indicates that they are already rather successful in a financial sense. 

What are we left with to explain their willingness to pay thousands of dollars, other than a dream that their children may attain some tiny shred of celebrity—i.e., of "being somebody?"