Let’s be honest, we all automatically assume that celebrities live ultra-lavish lifestyles in which they never have to lift a finger and want for nothing. Unfortunately for them, fame is finite.
Maintaining a celebrity lifestyle obviously doesn’t come cheap as fast cars, big houses and the most expensive clothes all come at quite a hefty cost. When that money eventually runs low celebs must look to their agents for a new source of income, doing what they do best.
But what if your star power has waned over the years? There aren’t many avenues for those past their prime, unless they’re willing to degrade themselves on reality television of course.
That’s when endorsements come into play. There’s no easier hustle than putting your name on a product that has absolutely no relation to you as a person whatsoever.
Thankfully, even the most mundane celebrities are lucky enough to have dedicated fan bases who will follow them no matter what. It’s these fans that brands are scrambling over, each and everyone of them is a potential customer. Got fans? You’ve got money.
No shame, no problem – Endorsements equal easy money.
The beautiful thing about brand endorsements is that they don’t have to make sense, more often than not they’re terribly embarrassing and make the person in front of the camera look absolutely ridiculous, but what does that matter if you’re getting rich at the same time?
It might seem cruel to laugh at their expense, but at the end of the day it’s these celebrities who are getting the last laugh, they’re the ones topping up their bank accounts.
With that in mind, it’s only fair that we take a look back at some of the weird, wonderful and spectacularly bad celebrity brand endorsements from over the last few years.
Whether it be a television advert, sponsored social media post or even shameless product placement in one of their shows. Sit back, relax and revel at the lengths some celebrities will go to make an easy dollar, regardless of whether they needed it or not.
MC Hammer – 3M Command Strips
Honestly, we really can’t blame 3M for splashing the cash on iconic 90s Hip Hop star MC Hammer, getting him to appear in their 2016 television ads promoting adhesive tape, quite frankly it was a genius marketing ploy.
The rapper, known around the globe for parachute pants and famous catchphrase “hammer time!” went out on a limb and urged the people of America to ditch the hammer and pick up 3M’s Command Strips, adhesive tape used to stick picture frames to walls.
Not only did MC Hammer appear in this somewhat awkward advert, but as part of the deal he also had to spend the day dancing and recording lip-sync videos with hardcore MC Hammer fans at New York’s Grand Central Station. Ouch.
We doubt this is the last time we’ll see this star endorsing odd products, as over the years his personal net worth has shrunk from $70 million to just $2 million following bankruptcy due to excessive spending habits.
Donald Trump – Steak
What was Donald Trump doing in the mid-2000s, before he decided to ramp up his political ambitions, I hear you ask? You may well think the answer would be growing after his global property empire, or filming episodes of hit reality show The Apprentice.
Well, you’d be wrong. In 2007 Donald Trump was busy putting his name to steak. Yes, you read that correctly. Donald Trump steaks were just one of a long-line of Trump endorsed products that failed spectacularly, however it hasn’t seemed to have dampened his spirits.
The steaks, which were sold in the Sharper Image catalogue and on television shopping channel QVC were dubbed the “World’s greatest” by the man himself, however they were pulled from the shelves within just 2 months due to shockingly poor sales figures.
You’ve heard the quote, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, well this is certainly the case for the President of the United States. He’s not been afraid to take those shots, and many have paid off in the long run, however there have been some real howlers.
Oscar Pistorius – Nike
At the height of his fame following the 2012 London Olympics world renowned Paralympian Oscar Pistorius featured heavily in global sports brand Nike’s advertising campaigns pushing their popular sportswear clothing line.
The double amputee was used in a number of popular ads that used the slogan ‘I am the bullet in the chamber’, making reference to his speed during the start of a race. An innocent enough slogan.
However, on the morning of Valentine’s Day in 2013 the South African double amputee shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in what he claimed to be an accident after he believed there was an intruder in their home.
The athlete is current serving his second term in prison for murder and Nike of course promptly pulled the advertising campaign, cosigning it to history as a terrible coincidence.
Without a doubt the most controversial and tragic celebrity endorsement on this list.
Verne Troyer – BGO Casino
In what has been likened to a bizarre fever dream by critics, the late Verne Troyer was ceremonially crowned ‘The Boss’ of BGO in a memorable British TV ad back in 2014.
The popular online casino brand, that was then famed for their generous wager free spins, hired the services of the Austin Powers star to be the face of the company in all of their major ad campaigns up until his death in 2018.
It was during these four years that BGO rose from relative obscurity to one of the most recognisable online casino brands in the United Kingdom. Many people were drawn to the site in part thanks to the weird and often hilarious television ads that featured Troyer.
On occasion he was joined in these ads by famous socialites Dan Bilzerian and Paris Hilton (Who themselves are no stranger to bad endorsements), however it’ll always be Verne Troyer that ruled the roost over at BGO.
Whoopi Goldberg – Poise Adult Diapers
You’ve got to hand it to Whoopi Goldberg, it takes some real confidence to become the face of an adult diaper brand, or maybe just a boatload of cash… Who knows?
What makes this link-up a little bit more awkward is that at the time of this campaign, which was unleashed across the internet in a number of historical themed ‘webisodes’, Whoopi was only 54 years old.
We appreciate that there’s no specific target demographic for women that suffer with incontinence, but we always pictured it to be those in the later stages of life, whilst the beloved Sister Act star is not quite in her twilight years just yet.
Unsurprisingly, executives at Poise claimed that this campaign signified the biggest marketing outlay in the company’s history… However the money spent to get Goldberg on board would all be worth it if they managed to change the conversation on incontinence.
Paris Hilton – HairTech International
We warned you Paris Hilton was no stranger to bad celebrity endorsements, however this celebrity, famous for literally being famous and nothing more, is known to be a brand nightmare, which comes as a surprise as she’s always in the spotlight!
In 2007 HairTech International paid the ‘celebutante’ an eye-watering $3,500,000 to wear their latest brand of hair extensions for the duration of the contract between the two.
Paris instead brazenly decided to violate the contract by openly wearing extensions belonging to HairTech’s main competitor. Not only that, but the ‘brand ambassador’ also missed the product launch party due to being in jail for driving on a suspended license.
Unsurprisingly furious that the millions they had paid had come to nothing, HairTech sued Hilton for $35,000,000, ten times the original cost of the original endorsement.
The Kardashians – Multiple products
It would be absolutely absurd of us not to wrap up this list by including the Queen’s of celebrity endorsements, the Kardashians. Not just one member of the family, but three!.
We can’t go through all of the products the Kardashian’s have put their names to over the years, as it would be an entirely new article on its own, however here are some memorable mentions from the superstar reality family.
In 2012 Kim and Khloe made headlines around the world for endorsing Quicktrim Burn & Cleanse, a diet pill that claimed to burn calories and gently cleanse your body in just 14 days. Sounds too good to be true right? This was because it was. In reality it turned out that Quicktrim was 100% ineffective and dangerous, even being banned in Australia.
Both Kardashian sisters were named in a $5 million class action lawsuit in New York over the product as they’d falsely claimed the product’s effectiveness for weight loss.
More recently Kendall Jenner was somewhat unfairly the subject of worldwide abuse after she appeared in a Pepsi ad which saw her hand a member of the riot police a can of Pepsi during what looked to be a heated political demonstration.
Pepsi were incredibly quick to respond apologetically, claiming that the ad was a misjudged attempt to “promote a message of unity, peace and understanding”.
The ad was pulled and Jenner continues to promote products for other global brands along with the rest of the Kardashian family who continue to rake in millions a year from various brand endorsements.