When glancing at a celebrity’s net worth, the millions of dollars listed next to their name might make it seem like the instant they hit it big with a blockbuster movie, a big win at a sporting event or make a hit record, they are rolling in cash. Actually, a substantial portion of money that top athletes and media stars in the U.S. make comes from corporate sponsorships, rather than from their actual salaries or winnings.
Brands are eager to land a celebrity spokesperson because sales tend to jump after it’s been endorsed by a star. Having a celebrity represent a certain brand or product can also help differentiate it from the competition. Despite the fact that some celebrities might not always be the best brand ambassadors (Tiger Woods was dropped by several corporate sponsorship deals after news of his infidelity was made public in the mid-2000s,) the advantages and rewards of companies nabbing an A-lister tend to outweigh the risks. In fact, if an advertising campaign is successful enough, consumers will surely remember the product – and ads – long after they have run their course (case in point: we’re all still saying “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter!” even though the butter substitute is no longer exactly en vogue). Here are 10 of the most memorable, and not to mention most successful, celebrity endorsements of all time.
10 Britney Spears for Pepsi
9 David Beckham for H&M
8 Catherine Zeta Jones and T-Mobile
7 Nicole Kidman and Chanel
6 Tiger Woods and Rolex
5 Ellen and CoverGirl
4 Fabio for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
3 Jessica Simpson for Proactiv
2 Bill Cosby for Jell-O
1 Michael Jordan for Nike and Hanes
Over the past three decades, basketball star Michael Jordan has been a familiar face in commercials and print ads for numerous products. Most notably, he has been the spokesperson for Nike and Hanes underwear. In the 1980s, he negotiated a five-year, $2.5 million dollar deal to be the spokesperson for Nike. In 1984-1985, he became famous for his Nike Air Jordans shoes, which were designed for him. He wore the shoes in all of his games and they became a highly sought after product by fans. Fast forward 30 years, and Nike now has a Jordan Brand subsidiary, which produces shoes and clothing. Meanwhile, Jordan has also been the longtime star of Hanes underwear commercials. In 2014, he celebrated his 25th year representing the company.
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