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When Celebrity Car Endorsements Take a Wrong Turn

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At some point in your life, you’ll think about getting a new car. Whether it’s because you’re tired of investing in replacing the same rundown parts, you simply want to upgrade to a newer model, or you want a vehicle that looks brand new, not full of scratches and visibly used, one thing is for sure: Commercials are bound to draw your attention toward a certain brand. This is why automakers invest so much money in advertising, making sure that as many people as possible are reached by the images with their latest releases.

What most car marketing strategies have in common is that they use celebrities as the image of their products. Not only are some celebrities so liked and loved all across the globe that consumers might unconsciously be inclined to buy anything with that person’s name or face attached to it, but there’s the fact that a higher sense of credibility comes with the association between a celebrity and an automaker. After all, if that multi-millionaire trusts their life in the hands of that car, it must be good, right?

However, as time has taught us, a celebrity car endorsement isn’t always the best idea. Whether it’s due to a faulty script, a mismatch between the star and the brand, or a mishap along the way caused by other events, celebrity car endorsement fails have happened in the past and they are likely to often happen in the future as well.

Celine Dion for Chrysler

One of the worst endorsements of any kind and of all time, the 2003 contract signed by Celine Dion with Chrysler where she earned $14 million to appear in their commercial over 3 years proved to be fruitful for only one side, the celebrity. What Chrysler learned the hard way is that Dion, while a great person, it’s likeable enough to draw the attention of young buyers, mostly appealing to elder audiences. A fiasco in every sense of the word, the company only ended up with an exorbitant whole in the budget and nothing to reap from the agreement.

Jennifer Lopez for Fiat

Widely considered as one of the worst ads up to now, it was supposed to promote Fiat on the American market, a market where this brand isn’t as popular as it is in Europe. What could have ever made them think that the star going to the “block” for a shooting and the Fiat 500C breaking down was a good look for Fiat, we will never understand. Things got even worse when it was leaked that the celebrity was actually shooting in L.A., a digital production studio making it appear as if she were driving in the Bronx, her hometown. Most were already tired of her diva attitude, the fact that the commercial lies about the location of the shooting only adding to the antipathy towards her and, subsequently, towards the automaker.

jennifer lopez performing concert

Some people think JLo should simply stick to singing
Photo: Ana Carolina Kley Vita

Jamie Laing for Hyundai

If you don’t know who Jamie Laing is, don’t beat yourself up because you are not alone. The star of “Made in Chelsea”, a TV show where he and a few friends go around drinking, cheating, and recklessly spending money, Jamie was apparently considered by Hyundai as the perfect star to convince consumers to buy the Hyundai i10. How did that work out, you ask? Well, obviously not that great since he isn’t a big name, not worldwide at least, and the show he is in only caters to the tastes of some viewers, which means that even locally he isn’t that recognizable.

Adriana Lima for Kia

During the World Cup event held in Brazil, one endorsement stood out in the worst way possible through a series of downright offensive commercials, the ones where Brazilian celeb and Victoria’s Secret angel Adriana Lima was promoting the sale of Kia Sorento. Maybe it would have gone right if they didn’t use the MVPs of Victoria’s Secret, as soccer is a great sport on its own, there’s no need for beautiful women to promote it by heckling non-soccer fans to join in on the World Cup. Obviously, while the commercials might have appealed to some, soccer fans worldwide weren’t pleased as their favorite sport was basically bashed and looked upon as being uninteresting.

Peter Crouch for Hyundai

A little enthusiasm goes a long way, and so does catering to the needs of the person you are using to promote your product. Peter Crouch is quite a legend when it comes to soccer, so his name is indeed known by many. While Hyundai had the right idea to make an agreement with him, what the company forgot is that the player is incredibly tall. Thus, fitting him into the small Santa Fe wasn’t a bright idea as there was no room to spare for his legs, which is obvious when you look at the pictures. The fact that the player isn’t smiling but rather looking disappointed only adds to the awkwardness of this failed endorsement.

This is a collaborative article.