Consumer News

Zombie Endorsements

Deceased actors brought back to star in advertisements.

The walking dead are all the rage these days, and not just in hit television shows. These 15 actors’ heirs sold the licenses to their images so that they could endorse products from beyond the grave. Some did it for charity, but others? You have to wonder. Did Audrey Hepburn really love the Gap? Did Freddie Mercury really love Cup Noodles? Who can say for sure?

1. Fred Astaire/Dirt Devil: In the original footage, Astaire dances with a broom. In order to replace it with a vacuum cleaner, Dirt Devil hired a dancer to mimic his moves exactly holding the vacuum in front of a green screen, and then superimposed the vacuum over the broom. After this ad aired, Astaire’s widow, Robin Astaire, helped pass a bill that limits the use of images of dead celebrities.
2. Elvis Presley/Pizza Hut: Elvis was not alive in the 90s, when this commercial was made.
3. Audrey Hepburn/The GAP: Hepburn’s son granted the right to use her image after Gap donated to the Hepburn Children Foundation.
4. John Lennon/One Laptop Per Child: A digitally synthesized version of Lennon’s voice narrates this advertisement. Yoko Ono granted the rights to use his voice and image to OLPC for free.
5 – 7. Gene Kelly, Groucho Marx, and Cary Grant/Diet Coke: Paula Abdul, Gene Kelly, Groucho Marx, and Gary Grant – not contemporaries.
8 – 10. Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, and Marlene Dietrich/J’Adore Dior: Fancy French perfume + Charlize Theron + dead ladies = must buy, apparently.
11. Steve McQueen/Mustang: A body double and some computer magic have McQueen driving a Mustang in this commercial.
12. Bruce Lee/Johnny Walker: “Dragons never die, because dragons draw power from water.” Sure, sure.
13. John F. Kennedy/Greenpeace: A deeply creepy CGI-altered version of the deceased former president talks about climate change.
14. Freddie Mercury/Cup Noodles: This features the song “I Was Born to Love You” dubbed in Japanese with lyrics altered to feature Cup Noodles.
15. Keyboard Cat/Wonderful Pistachios: This A Keyboard Cat, but it isn’t THE Keyboard Cat, who died in 1987.

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