It’s no secret that we live in a consumerist society. We just love to spend – and brands just love to sell. When business gets a little slow, there’s no better way to boost sales than by plastering the face of a well-known celebrity all over it. If you thought that some celebs are too big to even consider endorsing things like adult diapers, then you’re sorely mistaken.
Work can get a little slow for the A-list too, and if someone throws thousands of dollars their way for a measly commercial, you bet your bottom dollar that they’ll jump at it quicker than you can say ‘Because you’re worth it!’
Over the years, we have been blessed with a variety of questionable celebrity brand collaborations. Some of these are so terrible, it’s a wonder their careers even survived. It’s surprising the lengths Hollywood’s finest will go to for a pay check.
Some of the examples we are about to see are little slices of TV that you’ve probably never forgotten. Others have been lost in the sands of time, just waiting for me to dig them up for your viewing pleasure. From Brad Pitt for Pringles to the Prince of Darkness and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!, welcome to 15 Celebrity Endorsements That Were Awkward AF.
15. DAVID BECKHAM – GO3 FISH FINGERS
In 2008, David Beckham swapped his football boots for the kitchen, and created his own food line for children. The soccer pro put his name to the GO3 range, which offered up a plethora of family friendly, urm, delicacies. On the list of available foods were fish fingers, omelettes, fish pies and pasta. At the time, Becks said ‘As a Dad I know how hard it is to get kids to eat the right things. I also know as a footballer, how important it is to eat the right things to perform well, so I think the GO3 range is a great way to help families take some small steps to be fit and healthy at affordable prices.’ Yeah, we’re sure it had nothing to do with the fat pay check, Dave. The range lasted a New York Minute before being discontinued.
14. KIM KARDASHIAN – CHARMIN TOILET PAPER
There are plenty of jokes we could throw around here. Well, she is full of s***, etc. I’d bet money on the fact that Kim wouldn’t be caught dead opening a public restroom for the toilet paper brand, Charmin, today. However, back in 2010 that’s just what she was doing. Kardashian had just moved to the big apple at this point, and was apparently up for literally anything. Talking of the event, she said ‘With my recent transition to New York, I’ve been checking out all the gifts the City has to offer visitors and New Yorkers alike. During the holiday shopping season, I’m happy to join Charmin as they give the gift of the Restrooms near Times Square.’ Well, it didn’t seem to do her ‘career’ any harm, but her integrity certainly went down the toilet.
13. PENELOPE CRUZ – NINTENDO DS
Never thought you’d see actress Penelope Cruz with a mustache? Well, you are most welcome. The entire premise of the television commercial for the handheld console in 2012 is a little iffy. Both Penelope and her model sister, Monica, are laying around looking stunning and playing the DS. The scene changes slightly as Cruz loses the game and has to perform the forfeit – dressing up like the chubby Italian plumber, Super Mario. It’s a strange slice of television, but one that probably replayed for years afterward in the minds of game nerds. My guess is, it’s probably on one of those adult sites with millions of views by now.
12. SNOOP DOG – HOT POCKETS
In Snoop’s defense, he could put his name to a Tampon and make it seem like the coolest thing in the world. So, when he collaborated with Hot Pockets (the ultimate stoner pizza snack) it was still awkward AF, but also weirdly normal. Kate Upton joined in on the fun, and the advertisement saw Snoop and Kate dancing to an altered version of Biz Markie’s 1989 hit, Just a Friend. The lyrics were changed slightly to reference marijuana and boast about the delicious snack, with phrases like ‘hot buttery crusts’, ‘premium meats’ and ‘baking all day.’ Larry King also jumps in on the action wearing a gold chain that says ‘CHEESE.’ Frankly, it’s completely nuts.
11. KE$HA – CONDOMS
This may be one of the oddest entries on this list. Back in 2011, Ke$ha was still enjoying a career pre-Dr Luke controversy. In true Ke$ha fashion, she did something questionable and teamed up with Lifestyle condoms. She made a deal with the contraception brand that saw them create 10,000 personalized condoms, which had her face on the packet. And, it’s not subtle. It’s really there. A couple of years prior in a BBC interview, Ke$ha said ‘If you come to a live show, it’s a sensory assault. You will leave covered in sweat, beer, glitter, and, just maybe, you’ll get a special edition Ke$ha condom. If it breaks, you have to name your daughter or son after me.’ It looks like her dreams became a reality, when they were shot out of a cannon into crowds in 2011.
10. OZZY OSBOURNE – I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT BUTTER!
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter? I can’t believe that Ozzy did this. A far cry from biting the heads off of bats, rock legend Ozzy endorsed the butter (but not butter) brand when he was still filming for the MTV show, The Osbournes. In the advert, Ozzy bakes with a lookalike Ozzy, following a recipe for fairy cakes that plays on the television in the background. The best part? Ozzy’s exclamation, ‘Fairy Cakes?! I’m the prince of darkness. I’m baking rock cakes.’ Holy mother of God. With Osbourne’s trademark mumbling and mannerisms, it’s a sight to behold. You can thank me later.
9. BRAD PITT AND PRINGLES
Before his big break in the movies, a 26-year-old Brad Pitt was the face of everyone’s favorite chips, Pringles. In the commercial, Pitt and his host of beautiful friends have a serious emergency on their hands. They’re driving along, and they RUN OUT OF PRINGLES. All hope is lost, but it’s all made okay again when they spot an equally good-looking group of girls with an entire bag full of the darn things. Cue the Pringles party and joyous smiles. Everything ends a little awkwardly when the guy’s drive off and the girls are left with nothing. It’s a bit of a head scratcher, but Brad Pitt was as beautiful then as he is now – so, we’ll forgive him for the terrible advertising.
8. JOHNNY DEPP – DIOR
The commercial for Dior’s Sauvage fragrance for men was very peculiar. Johnny Depp drives down an open road, spouting some brooding nonsense while looking like a cross between Jack Sparrow and Marilyn Manson. The entire thing was just very off. Viewers were left wondering if the ad was supposed to be satirical, or if it really was just that cringeworthy. At the time, allegations started to surface about the star beating his then wife, Amber Heard, so Twitter didn’t waste any time using the commercial against him. This is one collaboration that probably did more harm than good. Poor Dior mistakenly thought they’d hit the jackpot.
7. IGGY POP – SWIFTCOVER INSURANCE
If you never thought that Iggy Pop would sell out, then you need to reevaluate all you believe to be true. Back in 2009, Pop was the face of the car insurance company, Swiftcover. The commercials were undeniably awful, with the shirtless aging rocker using the tagline, ‘Get a life. Get Swiftcovered.’ Now, everyone needs to pay the bills, but perhaps Iggy should have checked what he was getting himself in for before signing up. The commercials were eventually banned after the Advertising Standards Authority received numerous complaints. The reason? Swiftcover doesn’t cover musicians. Wait for it….HAHAHAHAHA. The campaign was deemed misleading, as if Iggy wouldn’t be able to afford insurance with Swiftcover if he wanted to.
6. MIRANDA KERR – LIPTON’S ICED TEA
You might be more used to seeing the stunning model and former Victoria’s Secret Angel in lingerie or on a catwalk than in an iced tea commercial. But, Miranda has mouths to feed and took on being the face of Lipton’s Iced Tea in a Japanese commercial. Kerr had the right idea. If you’re going to do an awkward endorsement for cash, definitely do one that won’t be televised in your home country. The commercial shows Kerr in a very short yellow dress, seductively drinking the product as a businessman gawks on. Fair play to you, Miranda. After all, a girl’s got to eat.
5. BOB DYLAN – VICTORIA’S SECRET
Well, well, well. The uber-cool and famously moody music icon, Bob Dylan, paired up with Victoria’s Secret in 2004. Dylan looked every inch the rock legend in the commercial shot with a 23-year-old Adriana Lima. The entire thing is set within a Venetian palace and is very film-noir. To be honest, Dylan doesn’t do much in the commercial other than stand and look foreboding. Although Bob definitely sold out for this, he probably netted a pretty penny. To be fair to him, he was once asked in a 1965 interview what would make him sell out. He answered, ‘Ladies undergarments’. Never mind all the awards and accolades, right Bob? You did it, buddy.
4. WHOOPI GOLDBERG – POISE ADULT DIAPERS
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this partnership must have happened in the 80’s – but in fact, this was only a few years ago in 2010. Goldberg lent her own brand of comedy to Poise, adult diapers produced by Kimberly-Clark. The commercials were pants-wettingly hilarious (which I’m guessing was the point), with Goldberg posing as the Mona Lisa and Cleopatra. You have to hand it to Whoopi, you have to have a particular brand of self-confidence to be able to represent a product that is as socially taboo as this. It was still a real WTF moment, though. Whoopi probably netted a tidy sum from the campaign.
3. MARY-KATE AND ASHLEY OLSEN – TOOTHPASTE
If you were around in the late 90’s/early 00’s, you’ll know that the Olsen twins ruled the market. Which market? Every market. There wasn’t a product that they didn’t have their name on. The twins had a clothing line, a make-up line, a fashion book. They were unavoidable. One of the strangest items that they released was this collaboration with Aquafresh toothpaste. It’s basically just regular toothpaste with their faces on it – and girls loved it. A squeaky clean image for squeaky clean teeth. Genius. However, I bet the older, far more broody sisters probably look back on it and cringe – whilst laughing all the way to the bank.
2. Usher – Honey Nut Cheerios
Smooth operator Usher clearly favoured money over his sleek reputation when he jumped on board to be the face of Honey Nut Cheerios. The campaign was only a couple of short years ago, in 2014. Not only can Usher be seen busting a move with that adorable little honey bee, he even offered up one of his songs as a cereal box prize. Although the choice is pretty strange (you’d think if Usher endorsed anything it would be clothing or a fragrance, not cereal), people were into it. Even Rolling Stone reported on the collaboration. Media outlets were DTF with this endorsement, so Usher got off relatively scot free. What’s next, Usher? Muller Light?
1. JAMIE LEE CURTIS – ACTIVIA
Even Hollywood veterans find it hard to refuse obscene amounts of cash for little work. Curtis became the face of the yogurt brand, Activia, in 2007. Since the beautiful relationship blossomed, we have been witness to a host of advertising where Curtis gives some important information on ‘digestive irregularities.’ Curtis definitely has the eat-your-greens-because-mommy’s-telling-you attitude down to a T – so much so, that’s it’s a little unnerving. We all know that yogurt is good for you, so who better to promote it than someone used to avoiding things that are bad for you (i.e. masked killer maniacs). It’s a stroke of marketing genius.
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