There are many things that mark someone out as a 'celebrity': the magazine cover photo shoots, the millions of Twitter followers, and the constantly being photographed in public doing absolutely nothing. But nothing quite says you've arrived like a celebrity sponsorship and endorsement campaign. Or rather, a particularly bizarre celebrity endorsement campaign. Now we're not talking the conventional athlete + sports brand campaign, or actress + beauty products; we're looking at those more puzzling of relations between big brands and celebrities. Everyone who is anyone these days has applied their brand of celebrity to some product; from Mr T and his cereal (really) to Ludacris and his own brand of cognac (oh yes, really) anyone whose name carries weight is getting a piece of the celebrity endorsement pie.
But the relationship between celebrity and sponsor is trickier than you may imagine: once hired, the celeb become a sort of constant brand ambassador, ready to champion their product of choice at photo calls and in interviews, and to be publically seen as a proponent of the brand. This, often, is where some celebs run into trouble: while many are willing to sign on the dotted line and become a rep for a well-known brand, celebrities often find it difficult to reconcile their ethics and ethos with that of the brand and don't quite manage to assimilate the product into their lives the way the multimillion dollar deal dictates. Or, more often, they just don't do what the brand wants them too. In either case, reneging on a sponsorship deal can be a controversial - and costly - measure for any celebrity. For a lesson in what happens when the power of big business clashes with the power of celebrity, have a look at these shocking examples of incidences when celebs have courted controversy with their brands of choice.
10 Kirstie Alley and Jenny Craig
9 Helena Bonham-Carter and Yardley Cosmetics
8 Rihanna and Nivea
7 Madonna and Pepsi
6 Ludacris and Pepsi
5 Scarlett Johansson and Sodastream
4 Jessica Simpson and Herself
3 Dior and their Creative Director, John Galliano
This next entry is something of an unconventional celebrity-brand dynamic, as this British designer was no mere celebrity. Since 1996, Galliano had been creative director for the high-end fashion house Dior, and was responsible for an iconic and over-the-top style that fed both the red carpet and the street style of the day. Under Galliano, Dior had soared to new heights in terms of revenue and his designs revitalised the Paris fashion house. All this came to an abrupt end in 2011 when the designer was fired by the brand, after being recorded making drunkenly aggressive anti-Semitic comments in a Paris bar.
2 O.J. Simpson and Hertz
1 Kate Moss and Everyone
The most famous example of how not to bite the hand that feeds comes from the world’s famous supermodel. Croydon-born Kate may not be the tallest, the youngest, or even these days the skinniest of supermodels, but she remains the most famous, for her glittering career as much as for her notoriously wild ways. A bevvy of wayward boyfriends including Johnny Depp and of course the ex-Libertines singer, Pete Doherty, meant that everyone knew that Kate was a bit of a party girl.
However, Kate's reckless ways endangered her career when she was photographed allegedly snorting cocaine at a party. The picture was published by British tabloid the Daily Mirror under the headline “Cocaine Kate.” Her contracts with the likes of Chanel, H&M and Burberry were terminated, not to mention her long term contract with the cosmetics company Rimmel. The joke was on them, however, as - in spite of the fact that Moss lost millions of dollars though the being dropped from these campaigns - she still managed to double her income in the following five years.
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