When a brand is looking for a marketing boost, they turn to the easiest promotion available to them: celebrity endorsements. As much as we hate to admit it, we’re all a little bit influenced by the alleged buying habits of our favorite stars and companies invest big bucks in getting their stamp of approval. Oh, so Kylie Jenner uses this moisturizer? Guess we all need to buy one for herself! If a brand is good enough for Beyoncé, it’s good enough for me. Just hold on a second while I check Instagram and see what must-have product the Kardashians are promoting today.
Some kinds of celebrity endorsement have become fairly standard by this point. We’re used to seeing stars promote perfume, beauty products, and clothing brands. However, some famous faces have been tempted by altogether more strange product endorsement deals. Which Hollywood veteran is apparently a huge fan of video gaming? Which Kardashian sister was the face of a toilet paper brand? You’ll never guess…
16. David Beckham and fish fingers
As soccer superstar David Beckham neared the end of his illustrious career with the England national team, he clearly decided that he needed to diversify his business dealings a bit. For some reason, he chose to enter the fish finger industry, endorsing a brand called GO3. It was a bit of a rogue move for Beckham – he’d usually limited his endorsements to sports-related or male grooming products. Some people even suspected the whole thing was a Photoshopped hoax. However, it turned out to be a genuine and well-meaning move. Becks intended to encourage sports fans to choose healthier snacks over hotdogs and burgers. It didn’t really work, but hey. He gets points for trying.
15. Ozzy Osbourne and fake butter
Everyone was a bit confused when rock star Ozzy Osbourne became the face of butter supplement I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter back in 2006. In an especially odd TV commercial, two versions of Ozzy do a spot of baking. They’re amazed when they really can’t taste the difference between real and fake butter. The end. Why did Ozzy feel the need to do this? The Osbournes’ MTV reality show was doing pretty well and wife Sharon was raking it in as a X Factor judge. It’s not like he needed the money. Maybe he really couldn’t believe it wasn’t butter and felt the need to share his discovery with the world. I guess we’ll never know.
14. Snoop Dogg and Hot Pockets
Snoop Dogg’s association with Hot Pockets apparently begun thanks to his own initiative. Back in 2012, Snoop teamed up with DeStorm Power, Andy Milonakis, and Brodus Clay to write an ode to this cheesy snack. “Pocket Like It’s Hot” – a parody of Snoop’s classic hit “Drop It Like It’s Hot” – became a YouTube sensation, mainly because of how bizarre it was. However, things got weirder. In 2013, Snoop officially endorsed Hot Pockets. He appeared in a commercial for the brand in which he led Kate Upton around a dreamy, Pockets-filled world. Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds. Still, its oddness makes it memorable, which is probably what the brand was going for.
13. Whoopi Goldberg and incontinence pads
While you’d anticipate a “woman of a certain age” to be endorsing incontinence pads (oh, the joys of aging), you might not expect that woman to be Whoopi Goldberg. Back in 2010, Goldberg teamed up with the company Poise to endorse a new range of wee-catching towels. Weirdly, the ad campaign involved dressing up as various female historical women and noting that they probably had incontinence problems, too. Goldberg’s endorsement aimed to reduce the embarrassment surrounding normal bodily functions and bring incontinence towels into the mainstream (pun not intended). Having someone as genuinely hilarious and good-natured as Whoopi lead the ads certainly did the trick. Still, every young woman can’t help but shudder when they see what pee-based future probably awaits them.
12. MC Hammer and Command Strips
In their quest to stop consumers’ hammer time and encourage them to buy adhesive hooks instead, Command decided to hire MC Hammer as the face of their brand. Sure, the pun here is great, but the whole endorsement turned out to be a bit left field. Command encouraged people to dance around in Hammer pants and lip-sync to “Can’t Touch This”. They also recorded ads that showed Hammer literally appearing out of a woman’s chimney to tell her to use Command hooks. Uh, isn’t that breaking and entering? We’re not sure if MC Hammer actually convinced anyone to buy Command hooks or strips, but this odd endorsement was at least a little bit fun.
11. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Aquafresh
Remember when Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were the tween stars that cropped up in everything ever? During their mid-2000s heyday, the young twin stars put their name on all sorts of weird and wonderful products. However, the most bizarre endorsement of all has to be their 2007 involvement with toothpaste brand Aquafresh. The then-17-year-old twins decided to use a four-year-old photo of themselves on the packaging, probably for the ‘cute’ factor. In their quest to fight plaque and encourage kids to brush, the twins only added to their already huge business empire. Still, seeing their childlike, unblinking grinning faces staring up from a toothpaste packet was a bit creepy.
10. Matt LeBlanc and Heinz Ketchup
Turns out it’s not just Joey Tribbiani who starred in questionable commercials. His actor Matt LeBlanc didn’t quite endorse a men’s lipstick range. However, he did star in some incredibly cheesy TV spots for condiments company Heinz back in the 1980s. Before LeBlanc found fame in Friends, he was desperate enough for jobs to endorse one of the world’s most famous ketchup brands. The ad saw LeBlanc solve the classic problem of getting the ketchup out of its bottle by hanging the product upside-down from a window ledge. The obligatory Hot Commerical Lady is suitably impressed. That’s not all – in this early stage of his career, LeBlanc also endorsed KFC, Coca-Cola, Cherry 7-Up, and Fruitful Bran. Well, everyone’s got to make their money somehow!
9. Penelope Cruz and the Nintendo DS
Although Penelope Cruz doesn’t seem like the type to be an avid gamer, she defied expectations back in 2012 and endorsed the new Nintendo 3DS. She really got into the role, too – fully dressing up as Super Mario, fake mustache and all. How much did Nintendo pay to convince her to do that?! Being Penelope Cruz, she actually pulls off this unconventional look. She can wear fake facial hair and still be attractive. It’s not fair. The endorsement was a bit of a family affair – Penelope’s sister Monica also appeared in the ad! She’s seen laughing as Mario/Penelope asks a shopkeeper for a mushroom. While the whole thing is mostly weird, it’s also kinda cute. Yay for family video-game time!
8. Justin Bieber and nail polish
When Justin Bieber was still a fresh-faced teen without a criminal record, he slapped his face on every piece of merchandise he could find. While he sold your standard kind of products – clothes, stationery sets, the usual tween-orientated stuff – he branched out into some unexpected industries. In 2010, the Biebs endorsed a new range of nail varnishes from beauty company OPI. The shades were named after some of his songs, led by the huge hit “One Less Lonely Girl.” While a male star endorsing female beauty products was seen as a bit weird by some consumers, Bieber probably doesn’t regret it. The line sold over a million products in just two months and earned the pop star a hefty paycheck.
7. 50 Cent and vitamin water
50 Cent isn’t exactly known for being a health buff. However, the Vitamin Water brand of health drink clearly didn’t care that he’d never used their product. They offered him a lucrative endorsement deal worth millions of dollars that only increased in value when Coca-Cola bought the company in 2010. The rapper apparently got a $100 million cut when that takeover happened. All he had to do was pose for some fake push-ups and publicly drink the product every now and then. Unfortunately, this money-making venture didn’t leave Fiddy financially set for life. When he declared bankruptcy in 2015, it became clear that he’d blown all of his Vitamin Water cash. No amount of vitamin boosts in the world can make up for that.
6. Helen Mirren and Wii Fit
How on earth does Nintendo manage to bag so many crazy celebrity endorsements?! As if landing Penelope Cruz wasn’t enough, turns out they somehow convinced an Oscar-winning Hollywood legend, Helen Mirren, to endorse the Wii Fit system back in 2010. Okay, maybe her reasons aren’t a TOTAL mystery. Nintendo was so desperate for Mirren to agree to the deal that they apparently paid her around $800,000 for just two days of shooting. That’s right: $800,000 to stand on a balance board for a while. Yeah… That seems worth it. While the commercial only aired in the UK, it certainly added a touch of class to a console that very few people over the age of thirty were likely to care about.
5. Justin Timberlake and McDonald’s
Here’s something that’ll blow your mind. You know McDonalds’ much-used “I’m Lovin’ It” Jingle? It isn’t just another bland idea from the brain of a marketing buff. Oh no. It’s a star-studded hit. Produced by The Neptunes and written by Pharrell Williams (amongst others), it was originally sung by none other than Justin Timberlake. Yep, really. JT was reportedly paid a cool $6 million to sing the jingle and endorse the brand back in 2003. I mean, you’re never going to turn THAT sum down, even if chicken nuggets aren’t that great for you. The deal was mutually beneficial: McDonald’s actually sponsored Timberlake’s late 2003 tour around Europe. The 22-year-old newly-solo star needed all the brand connections he could get.
4. John Cena and Crocs
Crocs shoes have had a bit of a bad time over the past few years. Ever since the internet objectively decided that the shoes were ugly, the brand has been trying desperately to convince us that they’re actually really cool, they promise! Part of their marketing strategy was to recruit popular or conventionally attractive celebs to endorse the brand and restore some of their street cred. While this definitely didn’t work, the campaign did give us some pretty amusing advertisements. Take the one featuring wrestler and walking meme John Cena. Cena has probably never voluntarily worn Crocs in his entire life, but he chose to grin and bear it for the publicity (and the money). At least he didn’t look quite as awkward as Drew Barrymore did in her Crocs campaign.
3. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a weird Japanese energy drink
There are no words that can do this endorsement justice. Everyone knows that Japanese advertising campaigns can be a bit more… intense than those in other countries. However, a certain energy drink company’s commercial starring Arnold Schwarzenegger takes strange to a whole new level. Honestly, it’s like watching a bad narcotics trip mixed with a nightmare. At one point, Arnie’s disembodied head simply floats around on the screen. At another, he grins maniacally and stares into your soul while clutching the energy drink in question. If you watch this, you’ll never look at Schwarzenegger in the same way again. It has to be the most mind-blowingly bizarre endorsement in the history of advertising.
2. Katherine Heigl and cat litter
Poor Katherine Heigl has seen an extraordinary decline in her career prospects over the last few years. There was a time when she was in highly in-demand actress, scooping up awards and breaking all of our hearts in Grey’s Anatomy. These days, she’s been reduced to endorsing cat litter. Yep, really. Heigl couldn’t even manage to get on the beauty product advertising circuit: instead, she’s stuck promoting Cat’s Pride litter. It’s clear that Heigl is fond of animals – she’s the patron of an animal right’s charity named after her late brother – but surely this is taking it too far? Does she even own a cat? Somebody give Katherine another major role and save her from kitty hell. While Shonda Rhimes has apparently shunned the actress, there must be at least one TV drama that’s willing to take her on.
1. Kim Kardashian and Charmin toilet paper
It’s weird to imagine the permanently glamorous Kim Kardashian endorsing something as simple and basic as toilet paper. However, back in 2010, it actually happened. Before the Kardashian empire became the pop-culture powerhouse that it is today, the girls were so desperate to promote their brand that they’d endorse pretty much anything. This led to Kim signing a deal with ~luxury toilet paper~ brand Charmin. She even cut the ribbon on some new restrooms for them in the center of New York City. The image of Kim posing with two guys dressed as stuffed bears is probably one that haunts her to this day. She wouldn’t be caught dead doing such a thing now.