8 Unlikely Chinese Celebrity Brand Ambassadors

Star power sells; it's a universal truth no matter who the stars are, what they're selling or where they're selling it. China presents a unique opportunity for celebrities familiar – perhaps overly so – to jaded First World markets and authorized or not, their product promotions are becoming a “must do” for all sorts of Chinese businesses.

Bill Clinton Flogs Condos

While Hillary gears up for a run for the nation's highest office in 2016, her hubby gets down to brass tacks in a series of tacky ads for Lar Valley Treasure III, a Chinese planned community near Beijing. Is “Dollar Bill” living up to one of his nicknames or is some young intern looking to get ahead by taking advantage of his celebrity status? Yes and yes? (Chinese celebrity advertising image via Danwei)   

Nicholas Cage, New Car Salesman

Nic Cage's issues with the IRS (not to mention bees) are no secret and when you Face Off with the taxman, the taxman always wins. This not only explains the former Nicholas Coppola's questionable choice of movie scripts these past few years, but also his signing up to be the brand ambassador for Chinese automaker BAIC. Would you buy a re-badged 2010 Saab 9-5 from Kal-El's financially-challenged father? Us neither, but we're not millions of star-struck Chinese. (Chinese celebrity advertising image via Autoblog)

David Beckham Models Multifunctional Mobile Phone/Shaver

“Hi Victoria, I'll be home in a bzzzzzzz.... Hmm, that sure looks like David Beckham, Brit soccer legend and Posh Spice's better half, shaving his chiseled celebrity chin with a combination cellphone and electric shaver. In fact, it IS him: in 2007 Becks sign off on an ad campaign for the Motorola Razr V8 so the images were basically there for the taking. Welcome to China! (Chinese celebrity advertising image via Geekologie)


Obama Fries Chicken?

Kentucky colonels are out, Illinois senators are in! You can bet your bottom dollar Barack isn't moonlighting from his current gig at the White House and if he were, running a fast food fried chicken franchise would be the last entrepreneurial option on his list. Now that's a change nobody can believe in. (Chinese celebrity advertising image via ChinaHUSH)    

Helen Keller's 50 Tinted Shades Of Gray

If a sunglasses firm can use Helen Keller's name to market eyewear, would a realtor marketing “Anne Frank Lofts” be acceptable too? We bet neither of them saw that coming. Lest anyone think the association is accidental (as opposed to occidental?), the Helen Keller eyewear website features images of Keller... none show her modeling sunglasses, though. (Chinese celebrity advertising image via Liuzhou Laowai)

Brad Pitt, Cadillac's Man

Like Nicholas Cage, Brad Pitt actually did officially sign on the dotted line to be an automotive brand ambassador in China. What's more unlikely is seeing Brad Pitt's and Nicholas Cage's name's alongside one another in the same sentence. (Chinese celebrity advertising image via Jing Daily)   

Chairman Mao Rocks The Mic

The late Chairman Mao Zedong is revered in China as the founder of the People's Republic, and using MZ's image for commercial gain is frowned upon to say the least... looks like the 0576 Qianmen KTV karaoke club in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, didn't get the memo. Give the folks at KTV high, er, Marx for creating this revolutionary ad that recasts the PRC's founder as some sort of Sino-Sinatra. Do be do be DOH! (Chinese celebrity advertising image via Danwei)    

Princess Diana's Casual Cello Day

If you're a Chinese ladies' unmentionables company and your ad campaign for Diana Underwear urges consumers to “Feel the Romance of British Royalty”, the result is the eye-popping, jaw-dropping ad above. Not surprisingly, hilarity did not ensue in the UK where commenters noted the late Princess of Wales was not known to have ever played the cello. (Chinese celebrity advertising image via Tim Stewart/Associated Newspapers Ltd)  


Star power sells; it's a universal truth no matter who the stars are, what they're selling or where they're selling it. Since China presents a unique opportunity for A-list celebrities (and those lower on the alphabet scale) to pad both their resumes and their wallets, we can expect to see more stars going east as time goes by. (Chinese celebrity advertising images top and above via Ads Of China)