Celebrities can go from hot to not in the blink of an eye — and it doesn’t take long for either standing to trickle down to the bottom line. Just ask Paula Deen, the celebrity cook who is watching her $17 million business empire slowly crumble in the wake of racism allegations.
Deen had deals — both endorsements and partnerships — with a wide range of companies. But Scripps‘ (SNI) Food Network, Smithfield Foods (SFD), Walmart (WMT), Home Depot (HD), Caesars Entertainment (CZR) and Novo Nordisk (NVO) have already cut the cord.
Must be tough to tumble from being a beloved celebrity paid to endorse ham and diabetes drugs to being the center of a scandal that has knocked you from your perch.
Of course, Deen isn’t the only big-time star who makes (well, in her case, made) big-time money to simply tout a product. Let’s take a look at five still-hot celebrities making a solid buck in the endorsement world:
Back in the day, endorsing a brand like PepsiCo‘s (PEP) iconic Pepsi simply meant taking a refreshing sip of the beverage, saying ahhhh, then smiling at the camera.
Boy, have things changed. Beyonce — the latest soft-drink superstar — is expected to do much, much more. Since stealing the spotlight at the Super Bowl’s Pepsi Halftime Show, and beyond the usual TV-commercial-starring and face-on-can promotions, Beyonce is working to create “innovative content” for Pepsi’s global advertising campaign called “Live for Now.”
The company describes it as a global music strategy which supports emerging, rising and iconic stars alike by providing them with truly global reach, promotional support and innovative resources.
Critics, though, see through the musical branding and instead have been hard on the diva for supported an unhealthy beverage, and thus modeling an unhealthy lifestyle. Of course, the Queen B doesn’t seem to care … and I wouldn’t either if I was making a cool $50 million just for supporting a soda brand.
Michael Jordan: Hanes
Just because you’re one of basketball’s great doesn’t mean you’re too cool — or t00 rich — to dabble in endorsements.
Even if it’s shilling underwear.
While Michael Jordan has his name on a pile of products — including long-term partnerships with natural fits Nike (NKE) and Pepsi’s Gatorade — he’s also been the face of Hanesbrand (HBI) menswear for more than two decades. No doubt you’ve seen the commercials of MJ promoting its recent tagless line and lay-flat collars.
According to The New York Times, “Mr. Jordan’s stellar sports record appeals to men, an important market for Hanes because menswear comprises about a third of its business.” Plus, men are increasingly buying their own clothes, instead of having the women in their lives make the decision.
Hanes lets them be like Mike — even if they can’t hit a jumper to save their lives.
Ellen DeGeneres: CoverGirl
Our next celebrity is Ellen DeGeneres — the comedian, host of The Ellen Show and (my personal favorite) the voice of Dory from Finding Nemo.
Just recently, the 50-year-old star inked a noteworthy deal: one that made her the new face of Procter & Gamble’s (PG) CoverGirl. As the company put it: She is “smart, confident, natural and beautiful from the inside out. Her beauty and down-to-earth personality fit perfectly with what CoverGirl represents.”
That puts DeGeneres alongside hotties like Halle Berry and America’s Next Top Model winners, and lengthens her endorsement resume which already includes blue-chip American Express (AXP).
As with leading lady Beyonce, though, the partnership is facing its share of criticism. Why? Well, Procter & Gamble remains one of the largest companies to continue animal testing … and Ellen is endorsing that even after being honored for love of animals by the Humane Society and vocally supporting Proposition 2 — legislation pushing for better treatment of farm animals.
Tiger Woods: Nike
Tiger Woods’ personal relationships and golf career have been rocky to say the least, but one thing has remained steady over the years: his relationship with Nike.
Headlines were circulating early this month that the two were closing in on a huge new endorsement deal that would keep Tiger as the highest-paid golfer on the planet — and if you tuned into the U.S. Open, their continued relationship was noticeable in his clothing and during commercial breaks.
Of course, it hasn’t been an easy road. Woods lost deals with Gatorade, AT&T (T), Tag Heuer, P&G’s Gillette and more following news that the golf star had multiple affairs — a reality that cost him around $22 million total in 2010.
Things have started looking up since Woods resigned with Rolex in 2011 — his first major endorsement deal in two years — and since he starting winning again. In fact, the ever-loyal Nike debuted a controversial “Winning takes care of everything ad” after Woods reclaimed his spot as the world’s No. 1 golfer earlier this year.
Charlie Sheen: Fiat
Speaking of “winning,” how could we not mention Charlie Sheen — the actor who once starred alongside MJ in Hanes commercials?
Sheen, as you likely remember, went off the deep end back in 2011 with a bout of drugs, porn stars and more. Those antics cost him his role on Two and a Half Men — a gig that brought in around $30 million a year — but he’s been embracing the “tiger blood” bad-boy persona it birthed ever since.
For example: Sheen’s endorsement of Fiat (FIATY). His debut ad for the company starts with him racing the Fiat 500 Abarth inside his mansion in the middle of a party — his way of showing just how much fun he is having under house arrest — and ends with him asking, “What do I get for good behavior?”
The answer: More endorsements. You’ve likely spotted him in a DirecTV (DTV) ad recently, too.