Celebrities – particularly those in entertainment, sport and modelling – usually earn salaries that the average person can only dream about, but for many apparently this isn’t enough. To be fair, many are constantly pestered by companies selling all sorts of consumer products, to use their name, voice and/or face in endorsing particularly popular lines on sale, sometimes with rewards in excess of their ‘day job’ salary, sometimes for just one showing, but often stretching for years and even for ‘life’.
Clearly the celebrities are on to a good thing, and judging by results identified in the following selected list of the more notable and interesting endorsement deals of all time, so are the respective companies, but what do you think?
How would you like to be paid $4.5 million
for appearing in a 60-second TV advert? Well, that was actor Brad Pitt’s
deal with Heineken in 2005 – then, the American football Super Bowl is the most watched TV program of the year in the USA, so advertising slots during the show are famously expensive, but very widely viewed, so maybe the expense was worth it. Not content with that little earner, Brad Pitt was also paid $3 million
by Cadillac, for advertising their product only in China!
A pretty face always attracts attention, so actress Julia Roberts‘
endorsement of cosmetics marketed by Lancome should be a sure-fire winner, although costing the company $50 million
over five years beginning in 2010.
Likewise, actress Charlize Theron’s
association with cosmetics producer Dior, worth $5 million
a year to her since 2005, would seem to be an appropriate investment.
Another actress, Catherine Zeta Jones
‘ endorsement of T-Mobile – her smiling face next to the ‘phone – at $20 million
over five years from 2002, is difficult not to admire on both sides.
Actor Robert Downey Jr
accepted a deal with HTC in 2013 of $12 million
for one year of ads to promote their smart-phones and tablets, which judging by the Taiwanese company’s success was also a shrewd arrangement for both.
The rap music genre has gained a considerable following in recent years, so when 50 Cent
– already endorsing Reebok sports shoes – was identified by Glacéau Vitamin Water on an add with their drink, they quickly offered him a contract to develop Formula 50, and including shares in the company. Coca-Cola acquired the company in 2007 for $4.1 billion, of which 50 Cent received $100 million
Another rapper, Jay-Z
spread his entrepreneurial wings to include an endorsement deal with Samsung worth $20 million
, which together with his singer-wife Beyonce
, whose contract with drink manufacturer Pepsi signed in 2012 and is worth $50 million
over 10 years, makes the couple very well-off, thank you very much!
Singer Jessica Simpson
is also a pretty face which has been put to good use – as the ‘after’ face – by skin care company Proactiv in an endorsement worth $3 million
over three years. Maybe not as rewarding as some others, but if both sides to the agreement are satisfied, who’s to say that the arrangement wont be renewed?
One of the first and relatively most expensive deals was concluded by Michael Jackson
with Pepsi in 1984, at $5 million
for an indefinite period. However, Pepsi concluded a deal with Jackson’s estate in 2012 to continue using his profile on their drink cans.
Just 16 at the time, what was it about nail polish that singer Justin Bieber
would be interested in? Well maybe $12 million
from OPI to advertise One Less Lonely Girl – named after his song – in 2010, a considerable contribution to the net worth of the young star.
McDonalds is one of THE company’s of the world for fast food, but apparently a music video by Justin Timberlake
in 2003 for a fee of $6 million
promoted Maccas to even greater heights.
began promoting coffee maker Nespresso in 2005 for $5 million
pa, and is still going strong, and not just in the cup or mug! George is certainly one of the most recognisable big-screen actors in the world these days, but just switch-on your TV and you’ll see him on that too!
Australian actress Nicole Kidman
would seem to fit in very well with perfume Chanel No 5 – in 2003 she featured in a film of just three minutes for $12 million
which certainly did the product no harm at all, and further advertised the actress’ profile too.
It is difficult to know how to classify Kim Kardashian
, who seems to be famous for just being famous, but her business acumen can’t be faulted. In 2014 she began sponsoring the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game with Glu Mobile for 45% of net profits
. So far the game is estimated to have earned $85 million
in less than two years, which makes her cut …….?
Sports goods manufacturer Nike is one of the most profitable companies in the world, regardless of goods produced, so clearly their endorsement contracts work extremely well. Sports celebrities are actually also famous for their involvement in endorsements, none more so than Cleveland Cavaliers’ basketball star LeBron James
, whose deal with Nike beginning in 2013 is worth $500 million ‘for life’, actually estimated to be $30 million
Fellow (ex-)basketballer Michael Jordan
has been associated with Nike since 1984, for an initial $500,000
plus royalties ad infinitum – the current estimate is that his cut from profits amounts to over $60 million pa, including from his own, separate Air Jordan shoe brand.
That top tennis player, Russian Maria Sharapova
, is also attractive was obviously not lost on Nike, which in 2010 signed her to a $70 million
eight-year endorsement contract, working out at a base $8.75 million
per year, but she also receives a percentage of sales from her product line.
Another basketballer, Dwyane Wade
, was signed by Chinese sports shoe manufacturer Li Ning in 2012 to a $100 million
10-year partnership, as the Miami Heat star is very popular in China. However, a change is marketing strategy and increased competition from Nike and Adidas has seen the company suffer considerable losses in recent years, even in its home country.
Former world heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman
has long been the face of the Salton kitchen appliance company, actually since the mid-90s for a 45% cut of the profits
. However, in 1999 the brand had become so big that Salton bought Foreman out for $137.5 million
, although he still appears in various advertising features to this day.
One of the most marketable sports personalities is now-retired English soccer star David Beckham
, who Adidas had the foresight to sign to a $160 million
lifetime arrangement in 2003, in a deal that saw him pocket $80 million up front, plus an estimated $20 million
So what do you think – are these endorsement arrangements justified from a business point of view, and who really profits the most – the company or the individual? Who else can you think of who may be worth recruiting, and by whom? Do let us know.