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Character Celebrity Endorsement

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Companies want to ensure big sales. They won't take any unnecessary risks, so they won't release their products in the crowded, dangerous marketplace without something that will make them stand out. Even the littlest of the gimmicks can work.

Character Celebrity Endorsement occurs when the companies use fictional characters, but celebrities nonetheless (largely cartoon ones) to promote their products, even if the character or franchise featured has nothing to do whatsoever with the product at hand.

Compare Celebrity Endorsement, when real celebrities lend their approval of the product. See also The Dead Rise to Advertise when commercials feature, darkly enough, dead celebrities. Parody Product Placement may involve the endorsement interfering with the actual work.


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Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • The Peanuts characters have endorsed MetLife insurance since the 1980s. Not to mention the MetLife Super Bowl ad that featured the cast walking into a field, followed by every old-school cartoon character you can think of: Voltron, Yosemite Sam, He-Man and Battle Cat, Snagglepuss, and on and on. There even did a couple of additional commercials purporting to be "behind the scenes" footage of the characters during the filming of the main commercial.
    • The Peanuts gang has also advertised Cheerios and Hostess Zingers.
  • A UK Kit Kat advert that shows Andy Capp "taking a break" from ... lying on the couch.
  • Hägar the Horrible appeared in a series of UK adverts for Skol lager back in the 80s. (These days, that would probably fall foul of legislation against alcohol advertising appealing to under 18s.)
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    Live-Action TV 
  • Bob and Doug McKenzie of SCTV and Strange Brew have appeared in several ads over the years, including this Pizza Hut commercial.
  • Kenny Powers from Eastbound & Down supports K-Swiss shoes. This culminated in a series of ESPN the Magazine ads depicting him as the CEO of the company!
  • "Dr." Spaceman from 30 Rock for Dr Pepper as part of the "Doctor's orders" campaign.
  • The Beer Store, a chain of beer stores in Ontario ran a series of commercials starring George Wendt and John Ratzenberger. Norm and Cliff were shilling beer in Canada.
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto for Jeno's Pizza Rolls.
    • The Lone Ranger also appeared in a "Who's behind those Foster Grants?" (designer sunglasses) ad when the owners of the Lone Ranger franchise refused to let Clayton Moore go in public with a mask on - he just switched to sunglasses.
  • A G.E. ad campaign featuring various robots including Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Lost in Space Robot, and K.I.T.T. of Knight Rider.
  • Chairman Kaga of Iron Chef supports Nissan in Japan-only advertising.
  • Smash did this in-universe when Ivy Lynn is shown filming a commercial for Ford, who not coincidentally was a sponsor of the series.
  • Bewitched cast members often promoted the sponsors' products - such as the Chevrolet Impala, Quaker Instant Oatmeal, and the Kodak Instamatic camera - as their respective characters.
  • Hairspray Live! had Show Within a Show host Corny Collins shill Oreo cookies after singing "Ladies' Choice", to help segue into an actual commercial break.
  • Patty Duke reprised her identical cousin roles from The Patty Duke Show in a commercial for the U.S. Social Security Administration, along with other commercials as herself. In some of the latter, various other cast members appeared.
  • The cast of Red Dwarf appeared in an advert for the A.A. (Automobile Association, not the other one), with Lister calling them up to repair Starbug.
  • In the 80s, Batman and Robin (clearly intended as the 1960s TV series versions, but sadly not played by the original actors) appeared in an advert where the Batmobile is too big for the Gotham rush hour, so they replace it with a "supermini" Austin Metro (vanity plate BAT-2).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Will Ferrell's character from Semi-Pro endorsed Old Spice, among others.
  • Speaking of, Will Ferrell's Anchorman character Ron Burgundy has given his approval toward the 2014 Dodge Durango in commercials that also make mention of the sequel Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
  • Austin Powers apparently likes Heineken.
  • The Lorax's film adaptation has about 70 marketing tie-ins all told, one being - of all things - for Mazda SUVs. Something about them being green. note  One gets the idea that the powers that be missed the point of the Lorax. A bit.
  • The Matrix:
    • One G.E. ad campaign included commercials starring Agent Smith.
    • Agent Smith also endorsed Powerade during the theatrical run of the sequels.
  • Very fittingly, Ryan Reynolds appeared in-character as Deadpool in a video raising awareness for testicular cancer.
  • Yoda starred in a series of ad campaigns for Vodafone.

    Music 
  • Vocaloid:
    • Hatsune Miku appeared in a Toyota Corolla commercial due to the car company sponsoring her upcoming concert in Los Angeles, as well as starring in a few mini slice-of-life-esque commercials by the same company.
    • She also starred in a promotion with Domino's Pizza, although fans reacted to this one with a lot of mockery.

     Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppets (specifically the cast of characters introduced in The Muppet Show, not every ad Jim Henson made a puppet for in the fifties):
    • A UK advert for Warburton's Giant Crumpets, with the family bakery slightly bewildered that the Mr the Frog wanted to make a variety show about their products.
    • A UK advert for Barclaycard, featuring The Electric Mayhem on tour in the UK.
    • A series of US adverts for Facebook Portal.
    • A German advert for BMW, with Kermit stopping his car to avoid running over a real frog.
    • A series of US adverts for the Ford Escape Hybrid, with Kermit commenting that sometimes it is easy to be green.
  • Thunderbirds:
    • Lady Penelope appeared in a rather sexist ad for Swinton car insurance, in which she was shown as utterly incapable of driving FAB 1 on Parker's day off.
    • Not as sexist, but even weirder, a DVLA ad in which Parker fails to pay FAB 1's road tax, and Lady P reacts by cutting his strings.
    • A Kit Kat advert which shows the classic title sequence, until the narrator says "Thunderbirds are go!" and, to his irritation, Thunderbird 1 fails to take off because Scott is having a break.
    • Brains body-popping to "Rhythm is a Dancer" in an ad for Drench bottled water, with the drink (and modern video effects) making him far more mobile than he'd ever been in the show. (Tagline: "Brains perform better when they're hydrated.")
    • Lyons Maid's ice lollies had a major Gerry Anderson deal in the sixties. In addition to Lady Penelope advertising the Fab, their other "space age" lollies were tied to other Supermarionation programmes: Zoom was Fireball XL5, Sea Jet (and Super Sea Jet) were Stingray (1964) and Orbit was Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • The Flintstones:
    • Flinstones vitamin pills.
    • Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble hawking Winston cigarettes (1961).
    • And after Pebbles was born, Welch's Grape Juice. In fact, Pebbles is seen drinking grape juice in some episodes.
    • The Flintstones appear to be really into the commercials, because they also hawk Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles. These commercials have been the only animated media featuring the Flintstones to be produced for years.
  • Donald Duck Orange Juice
  • Popeye:
    • Popeye Spinach - also a form of Defictionalization, since it's his Trademark Favorite Food.
    • Popeye was also used (oddly) to advertise Quaker Oatmeal. "I'm Popeye the Quaker man, I eats all the oats I can!"
    • And let's not forget the Minute Maid ad with extra Foe Yay.
    • In the mid-1980s, he also co-starred with Sonny the Cuckoo Bird in a couple of Cocoa Puffs commercials, and they offered Popeye bubble gum in the cereal package as a promotion.
  • The Pink Panther:
    • (Owens Corning) insulation.
    • As well as Safeco Insurance in the late 1970s-early 80s.
  • Looney Tunes:
  • Jonny Quest was the representative of P.F. Flyers tennis shoes, "The Action Shoes". One can hear Tim Matheson's voice beginning to change in the commercial.
  • The Linus the Lionhearted show was devised completely to flog Post cereals. It featured characters who served as mascots for the various Post cereals, including Linus himself (for Crispy Critters); Lovable Truly, the Postman (for Alpha Bits); So Hi, a little Chinese boy (for Rice Krinkles); Rory Raccoon (for Post Toasties), and Sugar Bear (for Sugar Crisp), the only character to survive the show's cancellation.
  • The Simpsons: Bart and Homer Simpson for Butterfinger; this went on for nearly a decade. Homer would later show up in an Intel ad as well. Multiple tie-ins with The Movie may or may not also qualify.
  • Family Guy:
    • Peter Griffin for Subway.
    • Brian and Stewie for Wheat Thins.
    • Stewie and Lois for Google Chrome.
  • Davey and Goliath for Mountain Dew.
  • Axe Cop and his friends all love Xbox One.
  • Adventure Time: Finn and Princess Bubblegum appear in the Honda Civic's "#LoveToday" campaign long-form version emphasizing how great the technology of the present day is. A meaningful gesture from denizens of a post-apocalyptic Earth.
  • Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems have done shorts for the Dove Self-Esteem Project, a series of soap brand-sponsored PSAs on concerns such as body image and bullying.
  • Wallace & Gromit appeared in a series of ads for NPower, with Wallace's inventions contrasted with the simplicity of the electricity company's energy-saving products.

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