When Celebrity Endorsements Go Bad. – Neatorama
Some product endorsements and celebrities go well together – but these didn’t: let’s take a look at some where the pairings went horribly, horribly bad.
Pope Leo XIII and Vin Mariani
In the 1880s, Pope Leo XIII [wiki], Queen Victoria [wiki] and Pope Saint Pius X [wiki] (yes, he was canonized), praised Vin Mariani [wiki], a popular drink made from Bordeaux wine laced with cocaine from coca leaves! Pope Leo XIII even awarded a gold medal to the drink and appeared in a poster endorsing it.
If you are not familiar with Vin Mariani, just know this: the drink was the inspiration for a carbonated version called Coca-Cola (named so, because of the coca leaves and kola nut, its two original ingredients).
The Flintstones and Winston Cigarette
Before vitamins, Fred Flintstones and Barney Rubble once sold Winston cigarettes in 1961.
Joe Namath and Pantyhose
Cybill Shepherd and Beef
In 1987, the Beef Industry Council hired Cybill Shepherd to promote eating beef (the campaign was called "real food for real people"), but the whole thing backfired when Cybill admitted she is a vegetarian!
Eric Clapton and Michelob
In 1988, Anheuser-Busch used Eric Clapton’s "After Midnight" song for its Michelob ad campaigns. That is, before Clapton [wiki] told Rolling Stone magazine that he was battling relapsed alcoholism.
Jose Canseco and the California Egg Commission.
In 1989, Jose Canseco [wiki] was arrested for possession of a handgun and got canned from his job as spokesman for the California Egg Commission.
Turns out, the Commission probably avoided a larger egg on its face when Canseco later admitted to steroids use (and outed teammates as steroid users) in a tell-all-book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big.
OJ Simpson and Hertz
Perhaps the worst ever celebrity endorsement was car rental company Hertz’s choice for a spokesman: OJ Simpson.
After the infamous OJ Simpson murder case [wiki] in 1994 (and countless "it hertz" bad jokes), Hertz was stuck with the unsavory link to Simpson.
Ray Lewis, Disney and Wheaties
Ray Lewis [wiki] led the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl XXXV victory and was named "Super Bowl MVP". But unlike past victors, he wasn’t "going to Disneyland" or got his picture on a Wheaties box.
Why? Lewis was shunned because he was implicated in a double murder that occurred during the week before the Super Bowl. Although the charges were dropped, he did plead guilty to obstruction of justice and was fined by the courts and the NFL.
Kobe Bryant and McDonald’s
In 2003, basketball star Kobe Bryant [wiki] of the Los Angeles Lakers, was accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old employee at the hotel he was staying.
Although the case against him [wiki] was dismissed (and a subsequent civil case against him was settled), Bryant’s reputation was tarnished and he lost endorsement contracts with McDonald’s, Ferrero (maker of Nutella chocolate) and other companies.
The Olsen Twin and Got Milk?
In 2004, the "Got Milk?" campaign pulled its ads featuring the Olsen twin [wiki], when Mary-Kate Olsen checked herself into a treatment facility because of an eating disorder.
Apparently, milk didn’t do her body good!
Kate Moss and H&M, Chanel, and Burberry
Supermodel Kate Moss‘ [wiki] party lifestyle caught up with her when she was photographed snorting several lines of cocaine in 2005.
Within weeks of the revelation, Moss lost modelling contracts and advertising campaings with clothing retailer H&M, Chanel, and Burberry.
Incredibly, after checking herself into a clinic and kicking the cocaine habit, Moss had a tremendous comeback and got even bigger product endorsement deals! So, maybe in Kate’s case, it didn’t go badly at all!