Celebrity endorsements that went wrong
The worst and most obscure of tech's celeb tie-ups. T3 uncovers a series of celebrity endorsements that didn't quite sit right
As with all big brands, tech companies have long used celebs to add prestige to their gear.. There's no denying that the right endorsement can catapult a gadget to massively improved sales, but please don't expect us to believe Kevin Spacey knows a damn thing about cameras, eh?
From Posh Spice to Hulk Hogan, here are the most disgraceful celebrity endorsement deals in the tech world, deftly proving what we already know: the human soul has a price, and it's not that steep. Click the link below to read up on tech's dodgy deals:
1. Bill Wyman: Bill Wyman signature metal detector
How do you fill your free time after three successful decades as the Rolling Stones' bassist and chief swordsman? "I've owned many metal detectors over the years, but none are as simple to use and effective as my own Bill Wyman Signature Detector." Oh. Like that. The press release for this unlikely rock 'n' roll/metal-detection crossover begged journalists not to reference Wyman's chequered romantic history, so we won't mention that 13-year-old girlfriend.
2. David Beckham: Motorola AURA
"When you hold it, it feels like you have something really special in your hand." No, David Beckham isn't describing his famous golden balls; he's referring to Motorola's decadent, £1,000 Aura, a handset as lacking in features as it's high in price. "Motorola always seems to come up with something different, and they've certainly done that again with Aura," he said. He was subsequently photographed with an iPhone.
3. Hulk Hogan: Thunder mixer
Wrestling legend Hogan claims to have been offered the grill that George Foreman ultimately put his name to, but decided to endorse a blender called the Thunder Mixer instead. Foreman's Lean Mean Grilling Machine duly sold millions while the Thunder Mixer, to be frank, did not. Hulk belatedly jumped the grillwagon with his Ultimate Grill. This was also not a Foremansized success however, not least because a habit of setting fire to cooking oil sprays when heating up caused a product recall.
4. Jerry Seinfeld: Microsoft Vista
Could anything possibly have been more embarrassing for Microsoft than the massive turkey that was Windows Vista? Yes: the commercial promoting it. Jerry Seinfeld's disastrous "Shoe Circus" endorsement, in which the comic helps an awkward Bill Gates shop for shoes before buying him a pretzel, was axed after two weeks and dubbed the worst advert in history. Seinfeld was reportedly paid $10m for this toe-curlingly embarrassing slab of corporate comedy.
5. Kevin Spacey: Olympus Pen EP-1
"Did you ever take a photograph that looks like a memory?" asks irritatingly smug thespian Spacey, tapping into his American Beauty persona one more time. "I love that. To take a photograph that hurts every time you look at it - it does that hurty thing." Pain-inducing photographs, brought to you Kevin Spacey. It's a "hurty thing" indeed.
6. Lady Gaga: Monster HeartBeats Headphones
These earphones are designed by Lady Gaga's own, oddly large, hands and are one of the most emotively-described pieces of audio gear ever. We quote: "In the deepest hour of the night, I confess to myself three things. I would die if I was forbidden to write, forbidden to love, or forbidden to fashion. Heartbeats embody the trinity of my human-being, with one additional vow: that SOUND matters." Sadly nobody forbade her from writing her own press releases.
7. Marco Pierre White: Russell Hobbs (among others)
A special mention for the chef who has more cooking- and non-cooking-themed products to his name than Gordon Ramsay has swear words in his vernacular. Blenders, scales, a "citrus juicer with drip-free spout", Bernard Matthews turkey products, Knorr stock, various eateries: Is there anything this man won't add his imprimatur to?
8. Mr. T: The FlavorWave Turbo Oven
"I can't wait to get started because my stomach is rumblin' and I pity the fool who keep Mr T waiting." Luckily for the much-beloved 80s badass he can nuke a whole roast turkey in a flash thanks to the tornado-like airflow system in this turbo-charged microwave oven.
9. Snoop Dogg: SkullCandy Black Skullcrusher headphones
Dr Dre and Lady Gaga (see above) are shacked up with Monster Beats, but Snoop be rollin' wit' the Skullcandy crew when he needs to 'hit the dope spot,' aurally speaking. "I've been a fan of their products for years and I decided it was time to break bread with them," revealed Snoop. "Our headphones are fly, affordable, and most importantly bangin'." But does the famously blinging rapper who once sang "Make money, money, money" really use £53 headphones?
10. Tiger Woods: AT&T
Until recently Tiger Woods was the face of telecoms giant AT&T and host of the AT&T sponsored National PGA Tour. The firm's lucrative relationship with Tiger hit the rough however when he was found to be 'waving his club about', 'scoring birdies' and/or 'having extra-marital sex'. Tiger's such a pro that even in the midst of this he found a way to stay on message: his wife found incriminating messages on his phone and reportedly reacted by launching his handset at him. Unpleasant, sure, but it at least ensured telecoms retained a high profile within Brand Tiger's promotional portfolio.
11. Victor Kiam: Remington
A have-a-go billionaire of the old school, Kiam used a Remington shaver at some point in the 70s and liked it so much, he bought the company in 1979. To ram this point home, he appeared in adverts worldwide, clad in nothing but a bath towel, proclaiming, "I liked it [the shaver, not the bath towel] so much, I bought the company!"
12. Victoria Beckham: Range Rover
"Victoria Beckham...is extremely knowledgeable about great design and trends". Well, that's Gerry McGovern's opinion, and the Range Rover Design Director is sticking to it. Posh is stepping into the role of 'Creative Design Executive' for Range Rover. Her first collaborative project involves designing the interiors of a Special Edition Range Rover Evoque. Are we going to see high-heel conducive brakes, chihuahua sized cup holders, or perhaps seats that can only fit size zero fashionistas? We wait with bated breath. Maybe then we'll fit into those seats.