Top 5 Sell Outs


Written by Caroline Doyle
10 Monday 10th May 2010

You can't complain when people act just as you'd expect them to. Being angry at Britney for advertising Pepsi, or Justin Timberlake for advertising McDonalds is like being angry at a child for being a bit giddy and then sick after you let them eat a whole cake for breakfast - it was inevitable and kind of our fault.
But what about when people we respect and admire start telling us to buy things? When credible figures flirt with the hussy that is advertising, you can't help but feel a little betrayed. So what if we would not think twice about hitching up our skirts, winking our eyes and flogging anything given the money these guys are offered, that's different, they're celebrities, we expect better from them.

The top five most baffling and shameful celebrity endorsements:

5. Samuel L Jackson for Virgin Media.
Aargh, flashing colours and big words moving! Oh it's ok, because there's Samuel L Jackson, and in his cool baritone he's telling me about television or something. I can't really concentrate because of the background, but Samuel L is making lots of calm but forceful hand gestures and walking around purposefully, so whatever it is, it's probably good. In fact this advert isn't really anything, its just him, talking. If it wasn't Virgin, I'd assume that they'd spent all the budget hiring him, so they couldn't pay someone to actually come up with an advert. Oh and now we have to repeat after him and pledge our allegiance to Virgin, aahh I get it, it's a cult, he's trying to make us join a cult, and the background is for mind control purposes.

The thing with this advert though is that it isn't really that embarrassing at all, he's hardly donning a Richard Branson mask and gyrating to dad rock. You just know as well that SLJ doesn't give a monkey’s about what you think of him. So what if we've lost a bit of respect for him, he's reclining in a deck chair with a model feeding him ‘Royales with cheese’.

4. John Lydon and Country Life Butter
Because punks are people too, and people like crumpets. The link between butter and punk is pretty tenuous. I mean, butter is like the second least punk dairy product of them all (milk is the least, cheese the most). If watching three seasons of Mad Men has taught me anything about the ad world - maybe using someone who is known by the moniker Rotten is not the most sensible to advertise butter. Yum.
This advert angers me less for the betrayal of his punk origins, because from the perpetual soulless look in his eyes, he seems pretty sorry about it. What angers me most is that if another butter company had got there first we could have at least got some fabulous wordplay out of it - Anchor-y in the UK! Oh yeah.

3.Benicio Del Toro and Magnum
Benicio Del Toro's magnum advert is inexplicable. It's highly polished, sickeningly expensive ridiculousness. I wrote an article about it last week, so I don't want to relive the feelings I'd successfully started to repress, but just imagine BDT eating a Magnum, it just wouldn't happen... a Calypso maybe, perhaps a Nobbly Bobbly, but a Magnum? Pfft no way.

2. Iggy Pop and Swift Cover

A justification for stricter censoring if ever I saw one. In what world is that Iggy puppet suitable for family viewing? The fact that Swift Cover doesn't even provide insurance for musicians, and the very surrealism of this one leads me to suspect that it is not in fact Iggy Pop selling out, no no, it is an elaborate joke at our expense. We should laugh, he's pulling our leg, we're so gullible, its irony, or a comment about contemporary society... performance art?

1. Ringo Starr and Alice Cooper for Aviva

How can we reaffirm faith in our bank, make it feel all cuddly and like we can be trusted with their hard earned pennies? I know! Let's squander millions on a star studded advert telling people we've changed our name to something that sounds like a Spanish deodorant brand. Though Alice Cooper, Ringo Starr, Bruce Willis and Elle Macpherson singularly would not have gained the top spot for most shameful selling out, their collaborative power does more to make you sadly shake your head at the world and reminisce about the days adverts were all sexism and smash robots.

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