Being a celebrity has many perks. Restaurant owners offer you food, airlines allow you to fly for free and car manufacturers want you to drive their cars. Establishing a name in the entertainment or sports industry means more than getting a paycheck for winning tournaments or getting an Oscar.
Celebrities have used their names to rake in piles of money from endorsements. Popular brands such as Tag Huer, Nike and Jaguar have discovered that celebrities are influential and can add a tremendous amount of value to the sponsor's brand. How do you take a simple brand like Nespresso and make it mainstream? Hire the services of a Hollywood star such as George Clooney. Nespresso and Tag Huer aren't the only brands to use big stars, as numerous car manufacturers have hired the services of Roger Federer, Daniel Craig and Robert Downey Jr. to promote their cars.
The celebrities love the concept, as they get to drive magnificent cars and get a fat paycheck to stand in front of the camera for a few hours to tell audiences how much they love their car. Although most celebrities who endorsed cars affiliated themselves to powerhouse brands such as Mercedes, Land Rover, and Jaguar, others opted for cars we wouldn't have expected them to promote. Our list includes celebrities who promoted car brands that they, probably, would not drive if it wasn't for the paycheck.
25 Ryan Reynolds - Nissan Leaf
Celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Reynolds are pedantic about promoting climate change and insist that car manufacturers change to the production of electric cars. The two Hollywood environmentalists drive the Toyota Prius Hybrid and the Nissan Leaf respectively.
"I believe it’s possible to take great leaps forward without sacrificing a way of life. For me electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf, are not only representative of taking back the power, but also a significant statement about conscious ways of living," said Reynolds.
24 Jennifer Lopez - Fiat 500
While Lopez sang that she's Jenny from the block, her Fiat 500 broke down on the block while shooting a commercial to promote the Italian automaker's car. Lopez wasn't driving the Fiat that broke down, as it was her body double behind the wheel, according to Westwood C and C.
The breakdown vindicates Consumer Reports' theory of naming the Fiat 500 one of the least reliable vehicles on the road. It seems that a car's true capability avails itself regardless of the situation, as the Fiat 500 can't help but to break.
23 Justin Timberlake - Audi A1
Before Timberlake ventured into acting, he was a huge singing sensation. Hits such as Cry Me a River made Timberlake the prime target for car manufacturers. Perhaps, the song Sexy Back was the reason that Audi partnered with Timberlake, as the German automaker wanted to convey that the A1 was a good looking, little vehicle.
The partnerships seemed to have worked, as many women found the A1 appealing and purchased it. As odd as some partnerships are, it can prove to be lucrative.
22 Jenny Frost - Nissan Micra
Frost used to be part of the popular British girl trio group Atomic Kitten, according to Honest John. The band gained popularity in the late '90s and early 2000s with hits such as Whole Again and Eternal Flame.
Although Frost is no longer part of the group, she used her time with the band to make money by teaming up with automakers to endorse their cars. Frost signed a contract with Nissan to promote the Micra. Although the Micra is not the most lavish vehicle that Nissan has produced, Frost didn't mind the paycheck.
21 Tiger Woods - Buick
I don't believe that there's such thing as bad publicity. Woods was the first sportsman to earn a billion dollars, but his golf skills deteriorated after the press found out about his other things.
Following the reports, sponsors such as Buick withdrew their endorsement deals with the golf star. Considering that the media covered Woods' story for several weeks, Buick should have used the opportunity to capitalize on free advertising. Since Woods was one of the biggest sportsmen in the world at the time, consumers struggled to believe that he drove a Buick.
20 Craig Robinson - Dodge Dart
In 2014, Craig Robinson and Jake Johnson teamed up to collaborate with Dodge to promote the Dart. Had Robinson and Johnson promoted the Challenger, the partnership would have made sense. Perhaps, the reason they didn't promote the Challenger is due to the car's bigger success than the Dart.
Originally produced in 1959, the Dart was in production until 1976, with various markets seeing the production of the Dart years later. The 2016 Dodge Dart needs 8.2 seconds to reach 0 to 60 mph.
19 Take That - Volkswagen Caravelle
The '90s was a great era for music. One of the boy bands that formed in the U.K. during the era was Take That. The band had tremendous success. When Robbie Williams left to pursue a solo career, it seemed that the band fell off the radar.
Considering the band had 28 Top 40 singles, Volkswagen wanted to use the band to create awareness of its brand. It seems that Volkswagen believed that Take That would have a bigger appeal to a mom and dad, as the German manufacturer signed a deal with Take That to promote its Caravelle van.
18 Kylie Minogue - Ford Ka
When you name a car Ka, you need all the help you can get to get the brand into the market and convince consumers that they should buy a vehicle with a ridiculous name.
Ford produced the Ka from 1996 until 2016 and wanted to emphasize the cute, fun and cheeky side of motoring, according to Westwood C and C. The U.S. manufacturer contracted the services of Kylie Minogue to convey that message to consumers. Minogue's cheeky smile helped to keep the car in production for twenty years.
17 Blake Griffin - Kia Optima
Griffin might be with the Detroit Pistons, but he made news with his thunderous dunks while playing for the Los Angeles Clippers. After impressing with numerous dunks, Griffin became an ESPN 'SportsCenter' regular.
Wanting to showcase his skills, Griffin parked a Kia Optima under the hoop at the NBA Slam Dunk contest and leaped over the car, followed by a monstrous dunk. The dunk helped Griffin to win the contest. After the contest, Griffin signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Kia.
16 Wilt Chamberlain - Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen used vast strategies while campaigning its cars in the media. Advertising Age voted the 'Think Small' print series in the '60s that Volkswagen did as the number one advertising campaign in history.
In 1966, Volkswagen teamed up with Chamberlain to cement the German automaker's reputation for delivering outstanding advertising content. During the era, only a few people purchased compact cars, so Volkswagen asked Chamberlain, 7 foot 1 inch NBA legend, to fit inside a Volkswagen Beetle. Chamberlain couldn't fit.
15 Jamie Murray - Peugeot 308
While Andy Murray promoted Jaguar's cars, his younger brother, Jamie, signed a deal with Peugeot. Jamie might have spent most of his career in his brother's shadow, but he was fortunate to sign a car deal.
Although the Peugeot 308 isn't a Jaguar XF, Jamie proved that he was worthy of the endorsement, as he won at the Davis Cup after signing the deal. Peugeot believed in Jamie's talent, so the French automaker wanted to capitalize on the opportunity.
14 Ricardo Montalban - Chrysler Cordoba
Montalban was an actor with a career that spanned for seven decades. Some of his most memorable roles included starring in the Planet of the Apes and the television series Fantasy Island. Montalban signed with Chrysler to promote the luxury 1975 Cordoba.
One of the aspects that made the adverts popular with audiences was Montalban's Latin-spiced delivery of the phrase "soft Corinthian leather." The original commercial became part of pop culture, motivating Chrysler to use Montalban in its adverts for two decades.
13 Thierry Henry - Renault Clio
In the early 2000s, Henry was one of the best soccer players in the world. His striking ability with Arsenal got him the attention of Barcelona FC, Spain. When Henry transferred to the Spanish club, his career spiraled out of control.
While Henry was still at Arsenal, scoring goals, Renault wanted to use the Frenchman to drive attention to the small Clio. The strategy worked, as sales of the Clio increased in Europe and South Africa. When Henry stopped scoring goals, Renault stopped the endorsements.
12 Amitabh Bachchan - Force One
"What car" you might ask. From 2011 until 2016, Force Motors manufactured an SUV called Force One. Although one of Bollywood's biggest icons endorsed the vehicle, Force One managed to sell only 3,000 units during the six-year production run.
Force Motors had expected to sell 4,000 units in the first year of release, but it wasn't meant to be. The 2.2-liter engine in the Force One was capable of pumping out only 141 horsepower through the five-speed manual transmission.
11 Claudia Schiffer - Opel Meriva
During her prime, Schiffer dated magician David Copperfield and traveled the world to receive millions of dollars to strut on the catwalk. Although the German supermodel is in her late 40s, she maintains her good looks.
During the peak of her career, Opel signed Schiffer to promote the Meriva. Opel started the production of the Meriva in 2003 and kept it on the assembly line until 2017. Although the Meriva didn't have the most lavish design, the car provided a reliable commute to women who needed a safe car.
10 Kim Cattrall - Nissan Tiida
Viewers who wanted a weekly dose of women surviving the city life and managing relationships would have tuned in to watch Cattrall play Samantha Jones on HBO's Sex and the City. The last episode was in 2004, and Cattrall continued her acting career by starring in the Ghost Writer and Meet Monica Velour.
Nissan wanted to collaborate with Cattrall while she was hot on the heels of completing the production of her show to garner attention to the miniature Tiida.
9 Susan Lucci - Ford Windstar
Best known for portraying Erica Kane in All My Children, Lucci received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her contributions to daytime television have garnered Lucci to become one of the most prominent actresses on television, as TV Guide ranked her 37th on its 50 Greatest TV Stars Of All Time list.
Lucci was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2015. Lucci promoted Ford Windstar, a minivan produced from 1995 until 2007. Although Lucci gained acclaim for her soap roles, critics laughed at her Ford commercial.
8 Lionel Blair - Nissan Almera
If you look into the history of British actors, one of the few men to have been active since 1984 was Lionel Blair. He had a flair for musical theater and started his career by working at the West End.
Nissan wanted to use Blair's fame to promote the Almera, so the manufacturer signed a deal with Blair to promote the car during the production of the Rocky Horror Show's 30th birthday tour. Blair played the narrator during the production and drove the Almera during the promotion of his album Blair sings Astaire, according to Gazette Live.
7 Paul van Dyk - Kia Stinger
Legendary trance DJ Paul van Dyk made a name for himself with massive hits such as For an Angel and Tell me Why. With the release of van Dyk's eight album, Kia took the opportunity to team up with the trance DJ to promote the Stinger.
His single I Am Live was the official soundtrack for the Kia Stinger, according to the New York Style Guide." My single “I Am Alive” stands for vitality, energy and emotion. It perfectly emphasizes the elegant design, the high-end technology, the excellent sound and the sports character that the Kia Stinger has to offer," said van Dyk.
6 Wayne Rooney - Ford Ka
Kylie Minogue isn't the only celebrity to endorse the Ford Ka, as Wayne Rooney got in on the action, as well. In the early 2000s, Rooney impressed English soccer fans with his skills by scoring numerous goals at his club Everton when he was 17 years old.
Ford wanted to ensure that Rooney promoted the Ka, so the U.S. manufacturer gifted him a blue SportKa; the same color as his Everton jersey. Although Rooney can afford more extravagant cars, getting a free car at the age of 17 wasn't a bad deal.
5 Ron Burgundy - Dodge Durango
When Dodge signed Will Ferrell to endorse the Durango, the U.S. manufacturer intended on a cross-promotional ad campaign. What better way to do that than promote the 2014 Dodge Durango crossover by having Will Ferrell appear in its commercial as Ron Burgundy days before the release of Anchorman 2, according to MSN?
The partnership proved lucrative, as Dodge used his name to garner sales while Ferrell used the publicity to promote the then-upcoming movie. Some of Dodge's vehicles annually feature on Consumer Reports' least reliable list.
4 Nigel Tufnel - Volkswagen Passat
Christopher Guest garnered a lot of attention in the '80s by playing a fictional character called Nigel Tufnel. The 1984 mockumentary film This is Spinal Tap featured the lead guitarist, Nigel Tufnel, of the band Spinal Tap.
When the movie premiered, bands such as Guns N Rose and Metallica were in their prime. Volkswagen thought that it could capitalize on the hype of the character considering that rock music was a big hit during the era. The advert featured Tufnel standing on the roof of a Passat, playing guitar.
3 Charlie Sheen - Fiat 500 Abarth
Lopez isn't the only Hollywood star to promote the Fiat 500, as Sheen used his fame from Two and a Half Men to get several endorsement deals. Viewers didn't receive the Jennifer Lopez advert well, but they enjoyed Sheen's efforts.
Fiat used Charlie Sheen's bad boy persona to create a dark and mysterious image. Fiat titled the advert House Arrest, featuring Sheen driving the Abarth inside his mansion while partying with models. It seems that a bad image can make good plots.
2 Jeff Bridges - Hyundai Elantra
Liking Bridges is easy considering that he played some of the most interesting characters such as Jeff Lebowski in the cult movie The Big Lebowski.
Apart from winning an Oscar for his 2009 role in the movie Crazy Heart, Bridges has also lent his voice to the Hyundai commercials since 2007. The brand thought that Bridges' participation in the campaign would propel the company in the US. Hyundai was right. Cars such as the Elantra have garnered attention from consumers.
1 Celine Dion - Chrysler Crossfire
Much like Celion Dion's career, the Crossfire has seen better days. When the Crossfire debuted in 2004, the market found a Chrysler sports car to be fascinating. Once the novelty had worn off, consumers realized that the Crossfire was unreliable like most of the brand's vehicles.
Despite Dion's popularity and involvement in the campaign, the Crossfire lasted on the market for only four years. The Crossfire's disappearance from the market coincided with Dion taking her pedal off the gas that produced commercial hits.
Sources: MSN, Honest John & Gazette Live