Oh, how the mighty have fallen. In Hollywood, they say you can be on top one day and washing dishes the next. But even worse than washing dishes, some stars have resorted to (::shudders::) celebrity endorsements.
From Princess Leia pushing Jenny Craig to Martin Scorsese peddling Siri, when some celebrities sell out, it’s just downright sad.
Let’s all cry in each other’s arms, shall we?
Carrie Fisher & Jenny Craig
Dear god, have you seen Carrie Fisher’s Jenny Craig commercial? It’s hard to believe that this is the same woman my boyfriend used to ask me to dress up as during sex. First of all, Carrie slurs through the entire commercial, which I’m not even going to get into, because alcoholism is a serious problem. Sometimes it’s seriously hilarious. But in this case, it’s just sad.
In the commercial, Carrie talks about all the things she can eat, and my heart hurts for her. To be fair, she looked better in the commercial than she did a few years ago when I Googled, “Whatever happened to Carrie Fisher.” But if the commercial wasn’t depressing enough, Carrie then gave this quote to People magazine:
“I feel much better. My blood pressure is down. And I can stand on the scale at the doctor’s office.”
Jesus. I mean, good for her and all, but just—Jesus.
Rihanna & Nivea
Last year, Rihanna was hired by Nivea to represent their brand in a series of adverts. A couple of them were released, and they were fine. The sad part here isn’t Rihanna doing skincare ads. The sad part is—they fired her. Why? Uh, pretty much just for being Rihanna. Earlier this year, Nivea gained a new CEO, who explained:
“Rihanna is a no go … I do not understand how to bring the core brand of Nivea in conjunction with Rihanna. Nivea is a company which stands for trust, family and reliability.”
Which kind of conflicts with what Rihanna stands for: hoochiness, partying and butt slapping.
Furthermore, a spokesperson for the brand added:
“Within the future brand positioning, Nivea focuses more than ever on its core values. This leads to a change in advertising strategy as well as marketing campaigns. Beiersdorf and Nivea thank Rihanna for her work in relation to the 100th birthday anniversary campaign and feel respect and sympathy for her as a person and artist.”
Rihanna’s response? She Tweeted a picture of the company’s CEO along with: “No caption necessary.”
I didn’t really get it until I read someone’s explanation: Rihanna is saying that the CEO is white and fired her for being black. Because if there’s one thing that applies to white people, it’s that they’re all racist. Seriously, they’re a horrible people.
Seriously, that’s what you’re going with, Rihanna? That the guy is white, so it must be that you were fired because you’re not white? I mean, I’d get it if the picture featured the CEO burning a cross or wearing a pointy white hat. But come on. That response just made a sad situation even sadder.
Hulk Hogan & The Hulkster Burger
From the 80s to the late 90s, Hulk Hogan was a pretty big name in the world of wrestling. He was one of the few wrestlers who transcended the squared circle to become a household name. Heard of Junkyard Dog? Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake? What about Kamala*? Unless you’re a big fucking nerd, you have no clue who I’m talking about.
But I bet you know who Hulk Hogan is.
The man was hugely popular. But when the Hulk’s career started slipping, he turned to endorsements. So what did he peddle? Was it energy drinks, protein powder or, I don’t know, wrestling boots? Nope—fast food. Yeah. He had basically become the Hamburglar. (He also unveiled his own line of energy drinks, too, though.)
To make matters even more depressing, the line of hamburgers, called “Hulkster Burgers,” were sold at Wal-Mart.
Martin Scorsese, John Malkovich & the iPhone
Okay, Zooey Deschanel doing an iPhone commercial is one thing. She’s what, twelve? Her career has barely started. And Samuel L. Jackson will pretty much do anything as long as a camera is involved. Seriously, anything. Hell, sometimes there doesn’t even need to be a camera.
But Martin Scorsese is a legendary filmmaker, and John Malkovich is—John Malkovich! So why the hell would either of them agree to peddle cell phones for Apple? It’s just depressing to see the man who made “Mean Streets” in an iPhone ad.
Although, I do like the part where he’s like, “Are you serious?” And Siri is all like, “I’m not allowed to be frivolous.” Hehehe. That’s pretty funny.
Iggy Pop & Swiftcover Insurance
If you’re even remotely a fan of punk music, this image will depress the shit out of you:
There is nothing less punk than selling car insurance. In this ad, Iggy Pop makes Justin Bieber look like Sid fucking Vicious. Hold on while I find the dark place in my soul where I can huddle up and feel comfortable enough to explain this picture to you.
So in 2009, Iggy signed up as the face of Swiftcover, a UK-based insurance company. Pretty bad right? It gets worse. They were an online insurance company.
Street walking cheetah with a heart full of Napalm my ass.
To really put this into perspective, this is what Iggy once said about punk rock:
“…that music is so powerful, that it’s quite beyond my control. And, ah… when I’m in the grips of it, I don’t feel pleasure and I don’t feel pain, either physically or emotionally. Do you understand what I’m talking about? Have you ever—have you ever felt like that? When you just, when you just—you couldn’t feel anything, and you didn’t want to either. You know, like that? Do you understand what I’m saying, sir?”
–I think so. What you’re saying is, buy insurance, right?
Oh, and there was this, too:
“Rock and roll’s old, and rock and roll’s young at the same time. The only reason why its getting old is that you’ve got a bunch of greedy little pricks pillaging other peoples hooks and other peoples riffs because there too damn lazy and well-represented legally to bother to do their homework, they just want the money.”
It’s only natural that people would call him a sellout. But Iggy Pop had a very punk rock response to his critics, saying he “didn’t give a shit.”
And really, that’s the only appropriate response there is.
Ozzy Osbourne & I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
I don’t exactly know what “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” is, but what I do know is—it’s not butter. So who the hell knows exactly what it was that Ozzy was hawking back in 2002 or whatever?
This was after his reality show, The Osbournes, came out, so Black Sabbath fans were already past the sellout shock. They were used to it at this point, but I still imagine seeing the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” ads made heavy metal fans more depressed, if that’s even possible.
Bob Dylan & Victoria’s Secret
Wait…what? Nay—what the fuck?
I mean, you can’t blame Bob Dylan for wanting to be in a commercial with a bevy of underwear models hand-picked for their ability to fill out an overpriced bra—but still. Bob Dylan? The poet? Really? Selling women’s underwear?
I never saw the commercial myself. But Slate described the it back in 2004:
“A well-formed young woman cavorts through a palazzo, wearing nothing but heels, lingerie, and a pair of outsized, feathery wings. At intervals, we cut to a shot of some sort of death’s-head demon, who looks poised to bite into the pretty youth’s skull, perhaps to suck on the marrow of her soul and prolong his undead half-life. Wait … stand by … I’m now being told that this creature is in fact Bob Dylan.”
Bob Dylan was the face of 1960s counterculture. The idea of him pushing panties is just downright tragic. The only thing sadder than that is, well, my writing about it. Or this further explanation from Slate:
“Victoria’s Secret wouldn’t return my calls, but media reports say the idea of putting Dylan’s face in the ad…came straight from corporate chief Les Wexner. To the company’s surprise, Dylan accepted their offer. It’s at this point that someone at Victoria’s Secret should have stopped the madness. Just because you can hire Bob Dylan as the figurehead for your lingerie line, doesn’t mean you should.”
We all have a price, or so I’m told. I would just like to think that, for stars like Ozzy Osbourne and Martin Scorsese, that price didn’t involve cell phones and butter.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, if “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” offered me fifty bucks to lather myself in their shit and then parade around the streets of my town naked, I’d do it. (I don’t know why they would want me to do that, but whatever, I’ll do it.) But here’s the thing—I’m not a celebrity. It doesn’t make anyone sad when I do that kind of thing (Except maybe my mom, but let’s face it, I write for the Internet. She’s pretty depressed, anyway).
But celebrities—we look up to them. We revere them. We respect their work (I mean cool ones like John Malkovich, not duds like Ashton Kutcher or something).
Seeing them sell out is always unpleasant. But when it’s for online car insurance, it’s god damn depressing.
*I once met Kamala at a wrestling show in Texas. Pretty cool, huh?