Most of the time, famous people achieved their fame through hard work and perseverance. So it is only fair that they are able to cash in on their names. After all, sometimes, the magic of a celebrity’s name and endorsement is more than enough to send a product’s sale skyrocketing. Just check out how books endorsed by Oprah Winfrey almost always end up being a best seller.
Which is why celebrities have decided that if a company wants to use their name or image to promote its products, they are going to have to pay for it. Just recently, pop star Rihanna won a lawsuit against Topshop for using her image and likeness without her permission.
Sometimes, even celebrities who have already passed away still have an intrinsic value attached to their names. Just think of the persuasion powers that names like James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Elvis Presley have.
So it’s all about knowing how to market your name. Paris Hilton will not make it to anyone’s list of best actresses or best singers in the world, yet she is smart enough to brand herself and to know that her name has a value. Here now are 10 celebrities who know the importance of celebrity branding and who know the value in their names.
10 Paris Hilton - $15 million
Paris Hilton is an heiress to the Hilton Hotels. Armed with both beauty and wealth, she has taken advantage of the opportunity by dipping her hands into anything that will strike her fancy. She has tried the movies, launched a singing career, starred in a reality television show, and even in a sex scandal tape. She also has her own jewelry and perfume line. Not that she would need the extra money, but her perfumes have proven to be so successful that a men’s line will also be launched.
9 Tiger Woods - $21 million
Tiger Woods has turned from legendary golfing hero to adulterous lying heel to competitive sportsman. After amazing the sporting world with his golf achievements achieved at such a young age, he shocked everyone when news of rampant cheating on his wife spread. Some sponsors pulled away, but then again, this is one of the greatest golfers we are talking about. Even if he doesn’t win a major anymore, his place in history is already cemented. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he actually is still very competitive, so much so that if he plays badly, it becomes news. Sponsors still line up to bask in the shadow of the Tiger.
8 P Diddy - $22 million
P Diddy is a successful musician, songwriter and producer. He also had Jennifer Lopez as his wife one time. Those achievements are already enough to make any man happy. Diddy, however, also has an extremely successful line of clothing and accessories called Sean John.
7 Michael Jordan - $25 million
The challenge of a recent generation of players like Lebron James notwithstanding, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever. His image is so recognizable that the silhouette of him jumping with ball in hand is enough for fans. It’s actually from Nike, but Jordan has his own line of shoes and apparel under the brand.
6 Jennifer Lopez - $35 million
Jennifer Lopez is the epitome of a sex symbol. Every inch of her exudes femininity. Despite a slight dip in popularity a few years ago, she quickly recovered from a stint with American Idol. She has her own line of clothing and perfumes to keep the money coming in just in case she goes through rough patches again.
5 Elvis Presley - $40 million
Has Elvis Presley really left us? Diehard fans will always keep his memory alive by gathering regularly to honor the man and his music. The real diehard fans think that he may still be alive, thus providing us with Elvis sightings from time to time. His family stands to benefit from all this adulation. As recent as 2005, his estate and property was leased for $100 million. Graceland has provided $40 million in yearly revenue since then.
4 Elizabeth Taylor - $50 million
Like some of the characters she has played, Elizabeth Taylor lives on if only in name and through her celebrity brand. The two perfumes that carry her name are considered as two of the most successful celebrity fragrances of all time. Called White Diamonds and Passion, the two scents have helped her family with sales adding up to almost a billion dollars over the last 20 years.
3 Muhammad Ali - $63 million
He will forever be “The Greatest,” and Muhammad Ali will always be etched in the minds of fans everywhere. He provided us with unforgettable performances and victories. Parkinson’s may have slowed him down, but he is still savvy enough to sell his celebrity brand for a cool $50 million, even as he retained 20 percent of all the rights to his name, image and likeness.
2 George Foreman - $137.5 million
George Foreman may have lost to Ali in the memorable “Rumble in the Jungle” back in the 70's, but he certainly knew how to reinvent himself. Two decades after the classic fight, Foreman came back to win the heavyweight title. He also lent his name to a grill appliance that became synonymous with the boxing champion. The George Foreman became such a hit that its manufacturer, Salton, decided to just offer Foreman with a hefty amount rather than pay him royalties from the grill’s sales. Foreman agreed and was paid $137.5 million. It was a knockout of a deal.
1 Donald Trump - $280 million
Talk about cashing in on his name, Donald Trump gets paid, as there are literally dozens of buildings being built around the world carrying his name. There are even alcohol drinks and business shirts and ties with the Trump name. The person who negotiated all these for Trump is probably the one guy he won’t fire.
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