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10/30/15

Product placement: Why some endorsements soar, while others strike out

Former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar "Stone Cold" Steve Austin recently announced that he's putting out his own line of beer. That endorsement and product makes sense for the multiple time wrestling champion, whose character in the ring as "Stone Cold" chugged beers almost every chance he could, whether he'd win or lose his match, you'd find him perched on top of the turnbuckle throwing back a few tall cold ones.
Now retired, Austin has taken scaled back the "Stone Cold" moniker, but that doesn't mean the most popular superstar in the WWE's history still can't cash in on his gimmick from more than a decade ago.
But Austin and his "Stone Cold" beer make plenty of sense as a pitch man and a product, and others have followed in his footsteps, such as George Foreman and his grill (ironically and rumored to be passed on another wrestling legend, Hulk Hogan).
Another athlete, David Beckham, has done wonders for H'M, the men's clothing line, with his own self titled line of clothes that the store is pumping out to record sales. Beckham is one of those rare athletes that women love and men want to be, so it would only make sense that his clothes are what women are picking out for their men and men have no issue wearing anything "Becks" is sporting.
On the flip side, it's always funny when you see high profile actors or even Academy Award winners selling everything from phones to satellite television. Of course, there's plenty of easy money to be made from big communications companies, but does Catherine Zeta Jones really make sense as a pitch person for T Mobile?

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How about Brittany Spears, and her involvement with Pepsi. Sure, the advertising worked due to the popularity of Spears, but do you really believe she's drinking a real, sugar filled Pepsi ever. You can bet when the commercial director yelled cut, she spit the cola out immediately.
And then, there's Bill Cosby.
No, this has nothing to do with Cosby and his recent legal battles and allegations about his affairs and issues with women from his heyday, but rather just how odd his Jello commercials were and how they just didn't seem to fit for Cosby. Neither did his endeavor and love affair with pudding pops. It was cute but hardly a match made in marketing heaven.
The idea behind a celebrity putting their name on a product is money driven, but that doesn't mean consumers are going to buy into something that fits as the proverbial round peg in the square hole.

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