Celebrity product endorsements can grant a product legitimacy with a wider audience than its competitors. It can also backfire and cause the celebrity in question a lot of embarrassment. Here are 15 highly questionable, if not downright bad celebrity product endorsements.
In 1994, Shaquille O’Neal cashed in on his popularity with children, lending his image and persona to a 2D fighting video game called Shaq Fu. The premise of the game had Shaq slipping into an alternate dimension to rescue a child from an evil mummy… using kung fu—wait, sorry-- “Shaq Fu.” The game is so notoriously bad it has garnered a website dedicated to wiping it from the face of the earth.
Like his father, Master P, Romeo is as much of an entrepreneur as he is a rapper. So why not marry his two favorite fields with one unique bewildering food product? In 2007, Romeo purchased Rap Snacks, a North Carolina-based company that specializes in making salt foods with a hip-hop theme. Billed as “The Official Snack of Hip-Hop” (I’m not joking) the label features potato chips designed by various rap artists, including Honey Dew Cheese Curls (endorsed by Yung Joc), Sweeties (bearing Ms. Toi’s stamp of approval) and Barbequin’ With My Honey (Romeo’s promotional chip of choice). The chips have never been successful enough for nationwide distribution, though they have stuck around in states like Missouri and Pennsylvania. Pics of the product have been known to pop up on Twitter with users mocking the tenuous relationship between the rap genre and its empty calorie filled “Official Snack.”
The Kardashians have endorsed several questionable products. Of the bunch, the easiest to single out is the Kim Kardashian supported dietary supplement, Quicktrim, which combines the benefits of caffeine pills and laxatives. However, it is the family’s Vegas based store, Kardashian Khaos, which takes the groan worthy cake. The shop sells towels, card decks, candles, face masks, and variety of other generally useless novelty goods celebrating the reality television stars. I'd say you're better off gambling your money away...
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One can understand Project Runway judge Heidi Klum endorsing make-up or clothing, but fruit snacks? Heidi Klum's Fruit Flirtations were marketed as a fat free (like most gummi-based foods), healthy candy. In reality the fruit snacks had a typically high amount of carbs and sugar (also like most gummi-based foods). So, yeah, epic healthy snack fail…
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During his notoriously drunken appearance on The View in 2006, Danny DeVito would slur "I knew it was the last seven limoncellos that was going to get me." Being the trooper that he is, DeVito decided to take the lemons of the bad press that followed and make... more limoncellos? The actor cashed in on his freshly debauched persona with Danny DeVito’s Lemoncello. Admittedly, the product has been widely praised for a dessert spirit, with many critics claiming it could stand on its own without DeVito’s endorsement. Still, the fact that the drink stemmed from DeVito's embarrassing drunken appearance makes it more than a bit cringe worthy.
Tying in with the tepidly received single of the same name, Nelly's Pimp Juice is an energy drink intended to attract the opposite sex with taurine, caffeine, and 100% your daily allowance of Vitamins C. It would be one of the few energy drinks to be actively protested for the passive misogyny of its name. With the media attention, the drink would take off and remain popular for several years before finally being discontinued. Pimp Juice’s legacy of ridiculousness would be parodied in the 2008 film Tropic Thunder. In it, a Nelly-esque rapper (played by Brandon T. Jackson) schilled his own energy drink, “Booty Sweat.”
In 2010, Sylvester Stallone lent his name to a high protein pudding. No, you aren’t misreading that—Stallone High Protein Pudding is a thing. Not only that, it’s a product that got Stallone dragged into court by William Brescia, an inventor who helped develop the pudding, and who claimed Stallone and his company, Instone, committed a “breach of contract” and “misappropriation” during the creation of the product. The drawn out legal battle goes to show you that some puddings just weren’t meant to be.
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Steven Seagal is well known as an international action star, master of akido martial arts, and creator of energy drinks. Well, that last one comes from a press release for Stephen Seagal’s Lightning Bolt. The “natural energy drink” was endorsed by Seagal, who claimed in the ad copy "I have traveled the world creating this drink; there is none better that I know." The drink came in two flavors—Cherry Charge and Asian Experience. Neither really took off and the drink was eventually discontinued, though Seagal has teased its return several times on Twitter. We’ll believe it when Under Siege 3 makes it into theaters.
Despite her well-documented, often terrifyingly outrageous behavior on Jersey Shore, Snooki has done fairly well for herself endorsing a variety of products. However, her footwear, Snooki Slippers, are an abomination. Coming in a variety of styles, including leopard print, zebra striped and giraffe, the slippers design looks like they were designed for Godzilla sized infants and patched together from the hollowed out bodies of forgotten Muppets. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but suffice it to say—they’re hideous. Still, props must be given to Snooki, who remains proud enough of her sleepy time walk-a-wear to sport ‘em regularly.
Photo: Judy Eddy/WENN
Dwight Yoakam is a renowned actor, director, singer-songwriter, and… frozen food seller? Dwight Yoakam’s Bakersfield Biscuits is a line of sort-of, kind-of country-themed frozen snacks and entrees endorsed by the crooner. Because when you think of the man behind “Guitars, Cadillacs” you immediately wish he was making you Pizza Fries (again, I said they are “sort-of” country themed). Other products Yoakam chose to put his name and image on include Take ‘Ems Little Riblets, Chicken Rings Afire and, my personal favorite, Dwight Yoakem’s Lanky Links.
Photo: Judy Eddy/WENN.com
Where to begin? KISS are notorious for their product licensing—from KISS caskets to KISS mini-golf. The worst, however, is very likely KISS-themed alcohol. Gene Simmons has long been an outspoken teetotaler and once told TV Guide that founding members Ace Frehely and Peter Criss were thrown out of the band because they were alcoholics. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for the band to endorse KISS Zin Fire—a California Zifandel—and KISS Destroyer Beer. You could label them sell-outs, but that would mean they had integrity to begin with...
During her well-documented “orange skin” period, Lindsay Lohan decided to develop her own spray-on self tanner. Sevin Nyne, which emerged in 2009, garnered more headlines for legal battles than it has rave reviews. Lohan has been sued for allegedly stealing the formula. Following the release of Nyne, Lohan would be caught using other spray tans like Tanning Vegas, which would also sue her for reportedly shorting them $40,000.
Photo: Jody Corte/ WENN.com
Hulk Hogan has endorsed numerous products throughout his long career in professional wrestling, but there was always the one that got away. In previous interviews, Hogan claimed the George Foreman grill was originally offered to him and he always regretted missing out on it. That’s why he created the Hulk Hogan Thunder Mixer—a shake mixer bearing The Hulkster’s seal of approval. Though it wouldn’t take off on store shelves, it has gone on to become a major collector’s items among wrestling fans. Check Amazon to see one of the devices priced a $2,000. Product endorsement mania's running wild, brother!
In another case of a wrestler (well, sort-of—he was at the first couple of Wrestlemanias events) missing out on a Foreman-sized grill, Mr. T endorsed the Mr. T Flavorwave Oven Turbo. The device was design to cook food up to three times faster than a normal oven using halogen heat, infared waves and convection technology. Besides sounding like a major fire hazard, the accompanying infomercial had T famously using his gruff personality to threaten customers into buying the Flavorwave. Actually, that’s kind of the best part of the whole thing.
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Paris Hilton has always been rich, but she’s amassed further fortune, not to mention fame, thanks to her propensity for product endorsements. While it’s easy to turn a blind eye to Hilton’s fragrances, make-up, and fashion lines, it is harder to endure her brand of scrapbooks and dolls. From Paris Hilton’s Creativity Collection scrapbook kit to the Paris Hilton dollmaker, each product marketed toward children just feels creepy and wrong. After all, this is the woman whose career was sparked by the controversy of a sex tape. That may be the sort of thing common to Hilton’s commemorative scrapbooks, but as for the rest of us…