10 Celebrities Who Sold Their Souls to Tech Companies

Ben Stegner 13-10-2015

Celebrities are always looking to make a quick buck, and tech companies are always looking for ways to make their products more attractive so that they too can make more money. Combine these two elements and you get situations like Ellen DeGeneres visibly using a Samsung phone at the Oscars Oscars Selfies, Free Windows 8.1, Nokia X Hack, Internet Trolls [Tech News Digest] Academy Awards selfies, Tim Cook is the Incredible Hulk, Windows 8.1 could be free, Nokia X hacked, FCC broadband app arrives, coding your own Flappy Bird clone, and Internet trolls should be avoided at all... Read More , even though she actually owns an iPhone.


These lame celebrity tech endorsements are nothing new, and you don’t need to look far to find more of them. Here are some of the most blatant examples of high-profile celebrities hawking products that they aren’t connected to in any way, some with hilariously awful results. Presented as a reminder not to be blinded by the presence of a famous face.

Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry – Windows 95 (1995)

The Internet has lots of nostalgia for the 90s 5 Games From The 90s You Can Play On Your Mac Today The 90s were an awesome time for gaming. And you can play five of the best games easily on your Mac. Read More , as evidenced by sites dedicated to taking you back to that decade 6 Websites That Will Bring You Back To The '90s Oh, man. I may have a biased opinion, being born in '89, but were the '90s not incredible? Nostalgia just drives me nuts and the '90s felt like the peak of music, movies, gaming, and... Read More . This instructional promo for the revolutionary Windows 95 starred Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry from Friends. It shows them using Bill Gates’ computer to learn about all the new features in Windows 95 Start Me Up - Windows 95 Turns 20 & Still Rocks 20 years ago the Rolling Stones cranked up "Start Me Up", and Windows 95 was born. We revisit history, discuss why Windows 95 was a big deal, and how it compares to Windows today. Read More , and it has more 90s cheese than you might be able to stand in one hit.

30 minutes of corny jokes, goofy sound effects, awful acting, and state-of-the art computing will surely make you howl if you grew up in this era. Aside from inducing cringes, this is worth watching just to see all the once-revolutionary features 5 Legendary Windows Tools Replaced by New Features Windows includes lots of tools that you use every day, but some have lasted longer than others. Here are parts of Windows that don't exist anymore. Read More we take for granted in Windows today.

William ShatnerCommodore VIC-20 (1981)

Here is an endorsement which is actually slightly less embarrassing than the others on this list. At the time, everyone knew Shatner as Captain Kirk, and Star Trek is one of the most widely recognizable geek franchises on the planet. So at least this one makes some sense.

The Commodore VIC-20 was the predecessor to the wildly successful Commodore 64 home computer, which you can still emulate today 7 Great Cross-Platform Emulators For 5 Classic Computer Platforms In the same vein as the recent flurry of console emulation articles, today we're focusing on classic computer platforms of decades gone by. Whilst there were quite a few, we've chosen 5 of the most... Read More . Captain Kirk selling the technology of the future – for just $299! – was clearly a success.


David BeckhamMotorola RAZR2 (2007)

In the pre-smartphone era, the Motorola RAZR was one of the most popular flip phones ever produced. Its sequel, the RAZR2 (pronounced Razor Squared), didn’t fare nearly as well, thanks to smartphones approaching on the horizon. However, that didn’t stop this ridiculous commercial starring soccer player David Beckham from being produced.

What does watching someone kick a ball around for a few seconds have to do with selling a phone? Beats me, but it apparently wasn’t enough to make this device a success. Still, if you bought one, at least you can still use it as an emergency burner phone 4 Good Reasons To Get an Emergency Burner Phone Your smartphone has tons of features, and that's a great thing. Sometimes, you just need a basic phone to keep around for emergencies. Let's look at why. Read More .

Jerry Seinfeld – Microsoft (2008)

Take one of the funniest people of all time, Jerry Seinfeld, and one of the most successful men on the planet, Bill Gates, and what do you get? Two guys trying on shoes in a mall.

What was the objective with this spot? What were they trying to sell? The majority of the footage shows Seinfeld and Gates staring awkwardly at each other while trying on shoes, and then a few references to Microsoft Stop Bashing Microsoft: 5 Ways In Which They're Awesome Microsoft doesn't always get fair treatment. When it comes down to it, they're a pretty awesome company. There's been enough Microsoft bashing, now it's time for some love. Read More are thrown out at random, none of which make any sense. Seven years later, this ad still defies logic.


Oprah Winfrey – iPad (2010)

Oprah is probably the most well-known talk show host on television, and her endorsement for the iPad came not through a recorded commercial but on her own show. She spent nearly three minutes lavishing praise on Apple’s new device, calling it her “favorite invention of the century” and explaining all the joys it could bring to users Use Your iPad As A Recipe Book? 10 Accessories For Kitchen Tablet Users There are ways to use your iPad in the kitchen while keeping your tablet clean and functional. Check out these ten accessories that every iChef must consider. Read More .

Exaggeration much? Oprah, who basically has unlimited money and could talk about anything in the world, decides that her favorite thing ever is the iPad because she can play Scrabble on it. Which seems a bit suspect if you ask me, but just imagine how many people went out and bought one after seeing this endorsement.

Hilariously, two years after this show aired, Oprah tweeted about how much she loved the Microsoft Surface tablet Microsoft Surface Tablet Review and Giveaway Read More – from an iPad. We guess that’s why Twitter tells you which app a tweet came from; to catch out disingenuous celebrities.

BeyoncéRhythm Heaven/Nintendo DSi (2009)

Beyoncé probably doesn’t play video games very often, if at all, but according to this video she simply can’t get enough. The spot simply shows her playing Rhythm Heaven, a WarioWare-style game that’s all about keeping the rhythm in various quirky mini-games. If you like a challenge, try playing this game with the sound off Don't Change The Difficulty: Make Games Harder With These 3 Challenges Are the hardest difficulty settings not enough for you? Try these three self-imposed challenges to experience games in new, tougher ways. Read More !


While not the most embarrassing endorsement on the list (she is actually playing the game, after all) it’s a bit tacky because of what she says in the extended version. Saying that this game is “simple” makes sense if you’ve only played the first few levels, as you need to be an expert to unlock everything this game has to offer; it’s deceptively simple 4 Seemingly Simple Video Games That Are Surprisingly Deep It may surprise you that many games exist that can be easily enjoyed by players of any skill level, yet are deep enough to allow for an advanced play style. Read More !

Also, saying that the DSi is great because it’s “portable” and “has a stylus” is a bit cheesy, considering that the original DS and DS Lite also had both of these traits. The new features of the DSi, such as a camera and downloadable software, aren’t even mentioned by Beyoncé.

John Malkovich – Siri (2012)

Apple is no stranger to popular advertisements An Apple (Ad) A Day: Top Ten Commercials You’re Likely To Remember Apple is a company that you either love or hate; there's very little middle ground. This is because you either buy into the company and its culture or reject it outright. Seeing as I don't... Read More (see the 1984 ad, the “Mac vs. PC” series, and the silhouette iPod commercials). However, the company broke its long unbroken record of leaving out the celebrity endorsements in order to plug the iPhone 4s with Siri, and the results are pretty poor.

This one is just… off. It was a common complaint that Siri didn’t work as well as displayed in the ad (as he uses single-word commands), and the joke that Siri tells Malkovich isn’t even remotely funny.


Another ad in the same series starred Zooey Deschanel, who apparently doesn’t know how to look out of the window to see if it’s raining. Unsurprisingly, people have created parodies of these ads 10 Hilarious Apple Ad Parody Videos for the Non-Fanboys & Fangirls If you're an Apple fanboy or fangirl then Apple can do no wrong. And their commercials are perfect slices of marketing genius that border on being works of art. The rest of us find most... Read More for your enjoyment.

Penélope Cruz and Mónica CruzNew Super Mario Bros. 2/Nintendo 3DS XL (2012)

In 2012, Nintendo’s 3DS was only a year old and found itself in a bundle of troubles. To meet the release of the larger 3DS XL handheld Nintendo 3DS XL Review and Giveaway Among all the big names in gaming consoles, Nintendo is definitely among the top favorites. As a '90s kid, I associate much of my childhood with playing Nintendo games. I remember growing up with the... Read More , Nintendo also brought out New Super Mario Bros. 2; not one of the best platformer games of all time Top 20 Platformer Games Of All Time With thousands of video games, where do you start when you want to play the best? Here's our definitive guide on the best 20 platformers of all time. Read More , but a decent one nonetheless. Of course, commercials were produced to promote it.

It’s not hard to see the appeal of this ad. The Cruz sisters are both extremely attractive and have done modeling; this aesthetic appeal combined with the playful banter between them and seeing Penélope dressed up as Mario makes this one a winner, for the most part. That is, if you ignore the fact that the pair had probably never touched a 3DS in their lives before shooting this ad.

Posthumous Bonus Celebrity: John LennonOne Laptop Per Child (2008)

This one doesn’t count for the main list since it isn’t actually John Lennon, but it’s worth mentioning as a bonus example of celebrity endorsements. Although Lennon was murdered in 1980, his likeness has been used in select places for ads since then. His widow, Yoko Ono, gave this ad for One Laptop Per Child the go-ahead, but something about it just feels creepy.

The voice obviously isn’t Lennon’s, but rather that of a (poor) impersonator. Further, his lip movements don’t match the words, and the message of the commercial doesn’t really strike you. What is it about John Lennon that would make you want to donate to this cause, especially after he had, at the time, been gone for almost 30 years? The whole thing ends up feeling super uncomfortable.

This should be a lesson for advertising execs: don’t write new dialogue in your advertisements for celebrities who have passed away. At least stick to people who are still alive.

Don’t Fall for the Act!

Now that you’ve seen some of the most egregious celebrity endorsements of all time, it’s important to remember that just because a celebrity is advocating a piece of technology doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to be great.

In the same way there are online reviews you should ignore Ignore These Five Kinds Of Online Reviews Online reviews can be a great way to decide if something is worth paying but, even if you avoid the dodgy reviews, there are plenty of other kinds you should ignore. Read More , most endorsements are nothing more than cheap attempts to sell you something you probably don’t need. Almost certainly, some of the folks here pretended to be “geeks” without having ever heard of the products they were endorsing; such is the nature of our star-obsessed world.

Be sure to check MakeUseOf’s Product Reviews for much more honest takes on the latest tech. You should also read up on why you need to steer clear of celebrity-endorsed headphones What Are Celebrity-Endorsed Headphones And Why You Should Avoid Them Celebrity endorsements are nothing new. There is one type of product, however, that's become notorious for its epidemic of endorsements; headphones. Read More .

What’s the worst celebrity endorsement you have ever personally seen? Would you ever buy something based solely on who was advertising it? Please share your opinions with us in the comments below!

Image Credit: devil hands holding paper by Elisanth via Shutterstock

Related topics: iPad, Microsoft, Nintendo, Star Trek, Windows.

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