Once an individual reaches celebrity status, be it an actor, musician, or athlete, it’s much easier to get paid loads of money for just being who they are. Various product companies come knocking on the doors of famous faces to assist in pushing products to the masses, including the cosmetic, equipment, clothing, food industries and more. You start to become so familiar with the celebrities association with the products, that it almost feels like they invented the item themselves. When a celebrity has racked up enough of a following, and built themselves into a brand, they become somewhat of a walking corporation and they expect to be paid accordingly for affiliation work. All sorts of companies are happy to invest in a famous face because it guarantees an exponential jump in sales almost immediately, and in the long run. Below are 10 celebrities who’ve landed the most lucrative endorsement deals in the business.
10. Justin Timberlake – McDonald’s $6 Million
Back in 2003, Justin Timberlake signed a $6 million endorsement deal with McDonald’s. A deal which he told British GQ magazine he regrets, without going into much detail. The singer claims that McDonald’s market share went up by 25% thanks to his affiliation, which he believes improved the company’s image, and over 10 years later, the song Justin was paid to perform “I’m lovin’ it,” named for the company’s slogan, can still be heard in advertisements regularly. The former N’sync singer was paid very well to simply shoot the music video for, and record “I’m lovin it,” so it’s unclear as to why he regrets having made the deal.
9. Justin Bieber – OPI Nail Polish $12 Million
Teen heart throb Justin Bieber was paid $12 million to design the One Less Lonely Girl collection released in 2010 by OPI. The fever inducing pop star remains within the top 3 most popular accounts on social media sites across the board, making his audience, mainly made up of young females, a highly sought after demographic for companies. The superstar was only 16 at the time of the deal, making him one of the youngest, and highest paid endorsed celebrities in the business. Throughout his short career, Justin has signed numerous highly lucrative endorsement deals, including $3 million to represent the skin care line Proactiv for 2 years. Most recently, the now 21 year old signed as the face of Calvin Klein, and although the figures of his contract are not yet disclosed, the young star is undoubtedly paid handsomely for his representation.
8. Kim Kardashian: Kim Kardashian: Hollywood App 45% Of Profits
Kim Kardashian has lent her famous name to many different brands and companies, the most lucrative of which is her latest affiliation with app gaming company, Glu Mobile. In 2014, the reality star signed up as the main character of a game once known as Stardom: The A List, later changed to Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, in which the socialite acts as a mentor to game players. The previously poor performing app received a massive surge in popularity thanks to Kim, who in turn receives 45% of net profits. To date, the game has earned between $43-85 million for Glu Mobile, who reportedly extended Kim’s contract for an additional 3 years.
7. George Clooney – $40 Million Nespresso
Newly married film star George Clooney has represented coffee making company Nespresso since 2005, reportedly earning $5 million per year for his affiliation. To date, the actor has earned an estimated $50 million and maintains that most of his profits go towards maintaining a satellite that monitors the Sudanese border. Many within the United States may actually be surprised to hear that the Darfur advocate has fronted Nespresso for a decade, as the advertisements featuring George are shown everywhere but in America.
6. Nicole Kidman – Chanel No. 5 $4 Million Per Year
Movie star Nicole Kidman has fronted the iconic perfume Chanel no 5. Since 2003, reportedly earning $4 million a year. The actress can frequently be seen in glamorous, high end production movie short advertisements for the perfume. On top of the $20 million + that Nicole earns per movie, the actress has pulled in an estimated $48 million in the 12 years that she’s represented Chanel no 5. Instead of going the route of most celebrities and releasing her very own perfume, the silver screen siren is paid very well to front the high end Chanel no 5. recognized as the highest selling fragrance in the world, with annual sales of over $143 million.
5. Beyonce – Pepsi $50 Million
One of the most powerful faces in entertainment Beyonce Knowles, inked a 10 year $50 million spokesperson contract with Pepsi, in 2012. The agreement includes a clause where Pepsi will actually sponsor all of the singer’s creative projects in exchange for her exclusive association with the brand. The pop diva is one of the most sought after celebrities around, thanks to her long time influence on a wide demographic and was contacted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest after news of her endorsement with Pepsi broke, urging the star to reconsider her affiliation with the unhealthy company, and if not, to consider donating the proceeds to charity. CSPI’s executive director, Michael Jacobson’s letter to Beyonce reads, “Your image is one of success, health, talent, fitness and glamour. By lending your name and image to PepsiCo, you are associating your positive attributes with a product that is quite literally sickening Americans.”
4. Charlize Theron – Dior $55 Million
Oscar winner Charlize Theron has been a spokesperson for Dior’s J’adore perfume for 11 years, signing a $5 million per year contract back in 2004. While it’s not unusual for famous faces to endorse multiple different brands at once, Charlize came under fire when she breached her $3 million spokesperson contract with Raymond Weil Genève, by publicly sporting a Dior watch to a charity event. The actress’ contract with the swiss watch company exclusively restricted her from wearing any competitor’s jewelry in public. Charlize was later sued by Raymond Weil Genève for almost seven times the amount she was paid for her representation. In 2008, an undisclosed settlement was reached and the actress’ contract was cancelled. To date, Charlize has earned an estimated $55 million for being the face of J’adore perfume.
3. Michael Jordan – Nike Air Jordan $60 Million/Per Year
Basketball legend Michael Jordan’s deal with Nike has been the most lucrative sports deal in history for both the brand and the star. When the retired athlete was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1984, he immediately signed a 5 year shoe deal for $500,000 a year plus royalties. 30 years later, the updated version of his endorsement contract with Nike is undisclosed, but the billionaire reportedly still earns $60 million every year in royalties from his shoe deal alone. That doesn’t include the plethora of endorsements MJ has lent his name to, including Gatorade, Hanes, Upper Deck, 2K Sports and more. It should be noted that for most retired athletes, it’s next to impossible to maintain an endorsement deal if you’re not MJ, Kobe Bryant or Lebron James. Michael Jordan receives the highest endorsement income of any inactive basketball player in history.
2. 50 Cent – Vitamin Water $100 Million
By pure chance, 50 Cent was photographed drinking a bottle of Vitamin Water when he was subsequently approached by the company Glaceau to create and represent a Vitamin Water called Formula 50. As part of his contract, the rapper managed to negotiate a sweet deal, where part of his pay included a small percentage of the company itself. Once Vitamin Water was sold to Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion in 2007, 50 Cent received $100 million, making the rapper’s endorsement deal one of the most lucrative in hip hop history. Most recently, 50 signed a $78 million contract to front FRIGO Revolution Wear, a men’s underwear line.
1. George Foreman – Grill $150 Million
When former boxing champ George Foreman was presented with the opportunity to front a cooking appliance, the retired athlete simply wasn’t interested. His exact words, “I’m not interested in toys.” Half a year later, his wife who had tried the grill, convinced him that it would be a good idea due to its convenience and simplicity. But it wasn’t until she’d made him a burger with the Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine that George was finally sold. George’s contract guaranteed 45% of profits. Before George, the grill was initially presented to wrestling champ Hulk Hogan, who instead decided to endorse a blender that no one remembers today. George Foreman’s world famous grill however, sold so well after just a few years, that the founders decided to buy out the former boxer, for $150 million, plus stock for use of his name in perpetuity. Today the former athlete is worth $250 million, 90% of which derives from the Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine endorsement.
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