I spotted this two page spread in Forbes magazine. It's IBM using a persona ("Lois") to get companies to think about 'customer centricity.' It's text heavy and superficial, but if it increases customer centricity than I'm all for it.
Similarly, Brett Lider points to Microsoft's MSN personas. They'd be denounced by Cooperites based on the sheer number of them (one persona for every age group?). More sins abound: 'Age 14-17, Amanda is at the pivotal point in her life where she is beginning to define her brand affinities.'
She's age 14-17? Very realistic. She's developing her brand affinities? Is that what her and her friends do after school? By putting a face on demographics they end up with a face on demographics, not a realistic depiction of a person that we can use our imagination to design for. But this is just a marketing tool, MSN trying to help advertisers advertise. Will it degrade the idea of personas for design? I hope not. Hopefully it'll turn marketing on to the grooviness of customer centricity.