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What were they thinking?

Posted by putsimply on 4th December 2007

About this time last year, in the true spirit of Christmas I was frantically attempting to get my hands on a Nintendo Wii. Against all odds, courtesy of a mad early morning dash to the Game store in Winchester to coincide with a hush hush delivery, I was successful.

However, only a few months later, in a moment of madness, I traded the Wii for an Xbox 360. Having realised my mistake, I’m now filled with a sense of déjà vu as I start December 07 rekindling my hunt for the year’s ‘must have’ but impossible to get games console. 

Anyway, there is a point to all this…. with my concentration a magnet for anything Wii related at the moment, I happened upon some of the latest Wii television adverts last night and it struck me – why on earth would Ian Wright and his stepson, Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips entice someone to buy a Wii?

Admittedly Shaun Wright-Phillips is known in certain circles as a ‘gamer’ but I find it hard to believe that him and his dad prancing around the living room playing golf and tennis on Wii Sports will appeal to anyone who holds (or at least used to) these two with any esteem.

There’s no disputing that a well matched celebrity endorsement can be an exceptionally successful marketing/PR tool.  Love him or want him to stick his ‘try something different’ campaign somewhere unpleasant, Jamie Oliver’s stint with Sainsbury’s has boosted the company’s profits, reputedly making almost £30 for every £1 spent on advertising.  However when the marketers get it wrong it can leave the consumer baffled.

Ian and Shaun’s bizarre Wii adverts got me thinking about other odd celebrity endorsement choices.

Here’s my top 5: 

1. Nintendo again. This time Oz actress Nicole Kidman advertising the Nintendo DS and brain training game. Surreal!

2. Ex-footballer and MOTD pundit Alan Hansen’s current adverts for Morrisons supermarket. Alan’s someone more versed at commenting on ‘absolutely shocking defending’ than what constitutes a good deal on your Christmas groceries.

3. Those charming Irish chaps from Westlife encouraging us all to get down to our local Post Office and sign up for broadband. I can see a trace of logic there but ultimately it’s madness.

4. A few years old now but do you remember the Imperial Leather bubble bath adverts using former hot head Italian footballer Paulo Di Canio? This rang out to me as a case of a company doggedly sticking to an idea at all costs despite the budget not being able to support it. I imagine David Beckham’s name being banded around in the brainstorm but in reality the pickings were very slim and Paulo (never really regarded as much of a sex symbol to women as far as I’m aware) was all they could afford/persuade to strut around in his pants.

5. Verne Troyer aka Mini Me promoting Apple laptops. Remember the ads? They also featured 7′6″ basketball player Yao Ming. Whilst the ads were undoubtedly funny they left me feeling decidedly unsure.

Are there any other companies that have chosen strange celebrities to promote their brand?