I can’t believe it’s not Ozzy: 7 of the most bizarre celebrity adverts

Last week came the rather bizarre news that Hollywood heavyweight Arnold Schwarzenegger – a name better known for pumping iron than pruning his bushes – was set to become the new face of Lidl’s ‘Parkside’ range of DIY and gardening products.

While surprising, it’s not the first time that a celebrity has been shoe-horned into an advert, to the complete confusion of viewers, with a number of other similarly left-field endorsements making it to our screens over the years.

Who can forget of course Adidas’ infamously ill-fated, (but immensely lucrative) seven-year collaboration with rapper Kanye West? Or, much closer to home, DIY retailer Wickes’ unfathomable ‘talent partnership’ with former Girls Aloud star Kimberly Walsh?

The often weird and wonderful world of the celebrity endorsement can, in many cases, make or break a brand. Although Adidas’ Yeezy experiment eventually went sour, it cannot be denied that it generated immense global success for everyone involved – and for that reason alone, brands will continue to take the plunge… although some may be a better match than others.

Arnold Schwarzenegger x Lidl

In a move which surprised everyone, Arnold Schwarzenegger – actor, businessman, filmmaker, politician and former professional bodybuilder – has been recruited by discount grocer Lidl to become the new face of its DIY and gardening range.

Famous for bank-breaking blockbusters across the 80s and 90s, Schwarzenegger’s immense global prestige will no doubt prove a considerable coup for the German supermarket chain.

Talking about his “tools for success”, Schwarzenegger says that everything he ever built was because he “had the power in the palm of my hands” – before sharing some Lidl power tools with less-muscle-bound DIY-ers and giving an inspirational talk to a group of indisputably bored children.

Iggy Pop x Swift Cover

Does anyone remember Iggy Pop as the face of an insurance provider? Or was it all just a fever dream?For all of four years from 2009 – 2013 US glam rockstar Iggy Pop was the face of AXA subsidiary Swift Cover.

The brilliantly bonkers series of ads perfectly embody the musician’s style and personality and frankly mark a fascinatingly bold creative direction for what is a run-of-the-mill car and home insurance brand. Eventually culminating in a hilarious back-and-forth with a ventriloquist’s dummy alter-ego, the deliciously unhinged series is truly an underrated gem.

Let us not forget however that the ads were briefly banned by the ASA, after it was found that Swift Cover didn’t cover musicians! The insurer quickly changed it’s policy, and the rest is history.

Country Life x John Lydon

Yes, you read that right. The Sex Pistols’ John Lydon was in fact Country Life butter’s star man in a series of ads breaking in the late 2000s.

Having reportedly accepted the role in order to fund a comeback tour for his band Public Image Limited, Lydon was even forced to defend his case in the press after claims he had ‘sold out’ his anit-establishment punk roots.

“Why are they questioning me? What manual am I supposed to adopt? I’m promoting a British product which I’m very proud of. Anything I can do to help British industry is fine by me,” said Lydon at the time.


I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter x Ozzy Osbourne

What is it with butter brands and classic rock stars?

Created to re-launch the product on the British market back in 2006, the less said about this utter mess of an ad the better.

Featuring Osbourne and an impersonator attempting to make what appears to be fairy cakes, it’s not surprising to see why The Prince of Darkness was never called back for a second instalment.


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Kimberly Walsh x Wickes

Wickes last year unveiled its ‘first official talent partnership’ with Girls Aloud singer, presenter and actress Kimberley Walsh.

The two-year collaboration is a female-focused campaign that intends to target younger demographics and challenge perceptions and stereotypes surrounding DIY.

Bizarre from the outset – apart from the initial buzz generated by the launch of this campaign, we’ve heard very little from the partnership since.

Maybe Wickes has quietly decided to shelve this one?

Lipton x Hugh Jackman

An often-treaded route for celebrities looking to make a quick buck, the Japanese market has given us some stunningly ridiculous ads over the years.

One can only assume that the celebrities who take part in these bizarre campaigns don’t believe that their Far-Eastern escapades will ever make it to Western screens. Unfortunately for them, YouTube is now a thing – and all of Hugh Jackman’s flashdancing boogie glory has been unleashed for the world to see.

Who knew Lipton Ice could have that effect on people?


Honourable mention: Woolworths x Jackie Chan

No wonder it went bust the very same year as this ad came out. Talk about disastrous. A confused plot line is only made worse by the use of ludicrous puppets and a histrionic Jackie Chan.

A trouser and t-shirt combo for £2.70 does sound pretty good though – who doesn’t miss the pre-crash glory days?

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