The Best and Worst Celebrity Endorsements

Categories: Top Five

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What is she... Is she literally pouring herself a glass of wine?
A few weeks back, I saw a Tweet from my friend Melissa, who found herself alternately captivated and horrified by what she'd come across in her local Kroger. It was a sign advertising a line of Pinot Grigio from Ramona Singer (above), one of the many identical-looking reality stars from Bravo's Real Housewives shows.

Singer is far from the first celebrity, or the first reality star, to endorse a line of food or beverage products. Hell, she's far from the first Real Housewife (see: Frankel, Bethenny). This latest reality star-backed abomination made me think back on all the appalling celeb endorsements that we've endured over the years. But it also made me think of the good endorsements: classics that have stood the test of time and mindful endorsements backed with common sense.

Despite Julia Child's admonishment that commercial endorsements were demeaning to chefs, there have been a few truly great endorsements over the years from both celebrity chefs and celebrities that set precedents and made memories. Our list starts with the best celebrity endorsements below.

The 5 Best

No. 5
Celebrity: Giada De Laurentiis
Product: Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce

This is a celebrity product pairing that makes sense: Giada De Laurentiis, longtime host of a popular Italian cooking show on the Food Network, and a line of Italian pastas and sauces. And the stuff actually tastes good, too. I'm not the only one who thinks so, either: Consumer Reports put the sauce in its "excellent" category along with fellow celeb chefs Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck's own version of the jarred sauces. What pushes it to the top, however, is its accessible price: only $3 at Target.

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I don't care about antioxidants; I just like the taste of grape juice.
No. 4
Celebrity: Alton Brown
Product: Welch's

While this pairing may have seemed odd at first, anything is better than the creepy kids that used to populate Welch's grape juice commercials. Besides -- as YumSugar points out -- other celebrity endorsements from the Food Network (aside from Giada and Mario) are for questionable entities: Rachael Ray for Dunkin' Donuts, Guy Fieri for T.G.I. Fridays, Tyler Florence for Applebee's and so on. At least Brown is endorsing a 100 percent fruit-based drink, instead of fat-, salt- and sugar-laden restaurant meals.

No. 3
Celebrity: George Foreman
Product: The George Foreman Grill

Admittedly, this isn't a food -- but it's just as impactful of an endorsement. Foreman demonstrated to legions of fans that it's possible to have good food that's not drowning in fat, and he showed them how with his grill. He was successful at it, too: Over 100 million grills were sold in just 15 years.



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15 comments
Al K. Lloyd
Al K. Lloyd

Jimmy Dean, what a guy. Has a great product, had the very first Muppet as his TV sidekick, and played Howard Hughes in a (Connery) Bond film.You did miss Wynonna Judd for Alli, though. She might as well have just looked at the camera and said: "It don't work real good".

aszure
aszure

I would have thrown in Johnny Rotten shilling butter

jim
jim

As a sustainable-food advocate and Farm Crisis refugee, I refuse to watch the Food Channel simply because of Paula's relationship with Smithfield. Those folks are the agricultural equivilant of BP - absolutely no accountability, with a horrible track record of both worker exploitation and pollution. I mean, enough hog manure for three Superfund sites.... just in Utah! And dead rivers from North Carolina to Poland... And, if you own as many politicans as Smithfield, you can simply ignore $10,000,000 fines from the EPA. The 2006 Rolling Stone article "Boss Hog" is a nice intro to the people that lard-ass sold her fat soul to. Far as I'm concerned, Paula Deen is the culinary equivilant of Nancy Grace, which is to say that if you shined a blacklight on her you would see where she has "666" tattooed on her forehead in ultraviolet ink.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Someone pointed out that I missed Jimmy Dean sausage, to which I say: mea culpa. That man and his sausage are both legendary.

Corey
Corey

Giata looks like she eats children, the wicked witch of the food network... She is scary..

Dustin Kalman
Dustin Kalman

You could likely do a list just of sausage... Blue Ribbon (Bum's Favorite) and Earl Campbell would make the list.

Ctexasgal
Ctexasgal

Maybe before criticizing someone, you should verify the spelling of their name.  Her name is Giada.

MadMac
MadMac

Does that change the fact that she, (sp?) does look like she eats small children. Of course her husband looks like he's her brother and eats large children but that's a different TV show.

Corey
Corey

I genuinely could care less, thanks for the correction.  I certainly hope your nitpicking doesn't mirror your blood pressure..

David Foltz
David Foltz

That's telling 'em!  Slow day in Texas I'm guessing?

Corey
Corey

No, just bored housewives defending that skinny thing that looks like she'll bite off your head off like a praying mantis, wait never mind Ctexasgal already did that.. Classy!

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