Celebrity endorsements can be a great way to grow a brand. We’ve picked our favorites — the cream of the crop — of 2017.
It’s impossible to discuss celebrity endorsements of 2017 without addressing the year’s biggest flop: Kendall Jenner’s ill-conceived ad with Pepsi. It’s a perfect example of a well-intentioned marketing campaign gone wrong, a tone-deaf “protest”-themed advertisement that caused outrage almost as soon as it was launched.
Thankfully, there were many inspiring and entertaining collaborations this year that more than made up for this hiccup. As 2017 winds down, let’s take a look back at some of our favorite celebrity endorsements of the year.
1. Neil Patrick Harris for Heineken Light
At first glance, Neil Patrick Harris might seem like a strange spokesman for a beer company — but that’s exactly what makes his campaigns for Heineken Light so amazing. Centered around Harris’ trademark wry humor, the ads mock the clichés and stereotypes of generic beer commercials, providing spots that are as fun and fresh as the ice cold beer they’re selling.
2. Aidy Bryant for Bank of America
It’s hard to add intrigue to a subject as dry as online banking, but Aidy Bryant’s spot for the Bank of America “Pay Back a Friend” app does just that. Relying on Bryant’s signature whimsy, the endorsement takes the form of a sketch that could fit right in on Saturday Night Live — all while communicating a practical message to viewers.
3. Christopher Walken and Justin Timberlake for Bai
It’s a testament to Christopher Walken’s unparalleled skill as an actor that he can create an atmosphere that shifts from tense to hilarious in 15 seconds. Walken and Timberlake’s endorsement for Bai, a company that makes antioxidant beverages, draws the viewer in by setting a dramatic scene before riffing on the connection between the company’s name (Bai), the purpose of the ad (buy), and Justin Timberlake’s hit song with NSYNC, “Bye, Bye, Bye.” This seamless shift from serious to whimsical makes this ad one of this year’s standouts.
4. MC Hammer for Command
“Stop! Hammer time!” MC Hammer’s career may have plateaued, but his trademark phrase remains an iconic part of the pop culture canon. In this ad for Command picture hanging strips, MC Hammer breathes new life into his classic “command,” objecting to a woman’s loud hammering with a slight twist on his well-known phrase: “Stop hammer time!”
5. John Malkovich for SquareSpace
Everything about John Malkovich’s endorsement for SquareSpace defies expectations. It barely even feels like an ad, capturing the audience’s attention in the same way that Malkovich’s movies might. Despite the brand’s tech-heavy nature, the campaign barely features any technology at all. Instead, it focuses on why people make websites in the first place, and how SquareSpace can help. The ad also focuses on the importance of aesthetics, which are often shrugged off by the Silicon Valley set as frivolous, but account for a huge part of SquareSpace’s appeal.
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