Market Overview

Celebrity-Endorsed Junk Food: What's The Cost?

Celebrity-Endorsed Junk Food: What's The Cost?

Celebrity endorsements aren’t cheap.

For instance, back in 2003, McDonald's Corporation (NYSE: MCD) paid Justin Timberlake $6 million for a song titled "I'm Lovin' It."

In 2012, superstar Beyoncé got roughly $50 million from PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP) to promote Pepsi products.

A recent study published in the Pediatrics journal looked into the endorsements that 65 music celebrities gave to food and beverage brands, which have been repeatedly associated with childhood obesity.

"We found the vast majority of food and beverage products were unhealthy," said Marie Bragg, a New York University researcher. She shared an interesting story with

"When Dr. Pepper asked Pitbull to endorse, they got 4.6 million advertising impressions, and sales went up 1.7 percent [among Latinos] — despite declining sales in the overall soft drink category.”

"Given that we have a childhood and teen obesity problem in the country, [these endorsements of unhealthy foods] are sending the wrong message to young people, and likely contributing to poor dietary habits,” she added.

These findings aren't new. Almost a decade ago, the Institute of Medicine arrived to the conclusion that, "television advertising influences children to prefer and request high-calorie and low-nutrient foods and beverages."

Moreover, these are not the only studies that link celebrity endorsements or even mentions to increased consumption of certain products. An investigative report issued last year suggested teens and young adults who declared liking hit songs that mentioned brands of alcohol (Kesha’s “bottle of Jack”) were more prone to drink versus those who didn't like these tunes, NPR noted.

However, it should be mentioned that numerous large companies have committed to reducing marketing for unhealthy foods and drinks among kids under 12. Among the firms that pledged to cut back were The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE: KO), which has been endorsed by and Maroon 5, and Kellogg Company (NYSE: K).

Below is a chart of some of the companies that have been endorsed by big music stars in the past.

Music Celebrity Food Endorsements






A&W Restaurants, Dr. Pepper, Hot Pockets, Red Bull, Pepsi

Coca-Cola, Doritos, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi

Britney Spears

GG Tea, McDonald's, Pepsi

Justin Timberlake

Chili's, McDonald's, Pepsi

Jessie J

McDonald's, Pop Tarts, Cadbury's


Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, Sheets Energy Strips

Maroon 5

Coca-Cola, Snapple

Chris Brown

Got Milk, Wrigley's Doublemint

Snoop Dogg

Hot Pockets, Monster Energy


Wonderful Pistachio, Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black Cup


Pepsi, Activia

Carrie Underwood

Vitamin Water, Hershey


Honey Nut Cheerios, Twix

Juicy J

CORE Hydration, Red Bull

Katy Perry

Pepsi, PopChips

Blake Shelton

Pepsi, Pizza Hut


Honey Nut Cheerios, Mike and Ike


Cracker Jack, Dr. Pepper

One Direction

Nabisco, Pepsi



Source: Pediatrics

Credit: NPR


Related Articles (KO + MCD)

View Comments and Join the Discussion!

Posted-In: Beyonce Britney SpearsNews Education Health Care Restaurants Media General Best of Benzinga