American Idol Is A Powerhouse For Potential Celebrity Endorsers


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American Idol Makes Future Celebrity Endorsers

With thirteen seasons and several hundred contestants, it is no wonder that American Idol is a powerhouse that churns out new celebrity endorser potentials for brands. 

Brand recognizes that these up-and-coming reality stars are often a more affordable - and relateable - 'celebrity' to hire.  And the surprising fact?  You don't have to win the season to win at being an endorser. In this article we take a look at some of the contestants-turned-endorsers.

American Idol, The Show

It's doubtful you have not seen at least a few minutes of it, or at least heard of it. American Idol is one of the most successful shows in the history of American TV and has launched an entirely new genre of television.  Created by Simon Fuller, produced by 19 Entertainment and distributed by FremantleMedia North America, it began airing on Fox the summer of 2002, based on the British series Pop Idol.  The fact is, the celebrities created by the show offer brands a whole new celebrity type to partner with.


At first, it was the series' panel of judges that were the talk of the town, and got the biggest interest by brands who saw them in the limelight - record producer and music manager Randy Jackson, pop singer and choreographer Paula Abdul, music executive and manager Simon Cowell,  country singer Keith Urban, singer and actress Jennifer Lopez, jazz singer, actor Harry Connick Jr, and radio personality host Ryan Seacrest.


But with the series concept based on finding new solo recording artists, with the winner being determined by the viewers, that limelight quickly spread. Winners chosen by viewers through telephone, Internet, and SMS text voting have included Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candice Glover and Caleb Johnson.


Justin Guarini, Season One Runner Up

Dr Pepper Celebrity Endorser

Dr. Pepper creates their own muse with American Idol's Justin Guarini.  In their first commercial, a woman is standing in the office kitchen, staring at the fridge wanting something sweet to drink but without the calories. Justin Guarini, also known as the self-employed Lil' Sweet, walks in to offer her a delicious Diet Dr. Pepper. As he slides out the door, it seems everyone in the office is suddenly thirsty...

"Lil' know fact about Lil' Sweet: He sings in the key of sweet and always carries a spare six pack of Diet Dr. Pepper with him. No one knows where he keeps it, though," the soft drink's YouTube channel states.


Diet Dr Pepper Celebrity Endorser

Targeting a male demographic and upselling the merits of diet soda drinks to a male demographic isn't always easy.  Dr. Pepper has found their muse in American Idol's Justin Guarini who returns as Lil' Sweet for their newest commercial.  This time the character makes a special appearance at a birthday party where he slides down the banister while singing that he's sliding down the banister, after two guys on screen say they wish they could eat a cupcake without the calories. Lil' Sweet is there to remind them that they can skip the cupcake calories and enjoy the sweeeeet zero-calorie Diet Dr. Peppers, before defying gravity and going back up the banister. 


Old Navy Celebrity Endorser


The first brand to partner with Justin Guarini for a TV commercial was Old Navy. In the one-day-only spot for $15 fleece coats offer, Guarini appears on a runway trimming a tree and is called out by the 'voice-over host' and sings "just rigggghhhht".


Carrie Underwood, Season Four Victor

The fourth-season victor became the first Idol winner to impact the country world. She has 14 No. 1 hits and has sold over 14 million albums. Her debut, "Some Hearts," moved 7 million units, and Billboard voted the effort the No. 1 Country Album of the Decade. Her latest album, "Blown Away," has topped the charts. Outside of music, Underwood has favored beauty brand endorsements, and is currently endorsing Almay and Olay. Underwood also endorses brands such as Vitaminwater.

Almay Celebrity Endorser

For Underwood's 2015 commercials with the beauty brand, Almay, have focused on the brand's American roots and the notion of 'Celebrating America'. Presently, Underwood is featured in commercials for Almay's current product, the 'Smart Shade Butter Kiss' lipstick.



In Almay's spring/summer product ad campaign, Almay and Carrie Underwood show what it means to be simply American. Whether it's dreams that are born or hopes that fly, we are in a country to love. Almay and Underwood hone in on the real, effortless beauty their consumers want. 




Underwood served as the face of Olay between the years 2011 - 2012. For the Olay Complete All-Day moisturizer  commercial, Underwood shares how she used to wear sun protection only even on a beach day. Now, she wears it every day due to the damaging UV rays being everywhere. Underwood shares how Olay Complete provides UVA/UVB protection with SPF.

The commercial was aired nationally and targeted the female demographic. Underwood was also featured in the brand's print ads between 2011 and 2012.




Jordin Sparks, Season Six Victor

Sparks is the youngest winner of Idol, taking the title when she was just 17. Her self-titled debut went platinum, and her duet with Chris Brown, "No Air," sold over 4 million digital downloads. She has also gone the Broadway route, appearing in the Tony-winning musical 'In the Heights" in 2010. She's also set to make her film debut in 2012 as the titular character in the remake "Sparkle," which also features the late Whitney Houston.


Excedrin Celebrity Endorser

Jordin Sparks hasn't formed many brand partnerships since her American Idol victory. But the star raised a few eyebrows when she debuted her over the counter drug endorsement for Excedrin. In the commercial, (last aired in 2012) Sparks shares how she trusts Excedrin to get rid of her migraines.

Sparks signed on to the deal during Excedrin's brand re-launch. The partnership was in Sparks' best interests as she herself is a migraine sufferer. In an effort to generate publicity by letting consumers know that Excedrin brand is back, Sparks also paired with Lenox Hill Hospital internist and sufferer Keri Peterson.

Sparks also featured on the brand's social pages, as well as promoting the 'Migraine Triggers App' to further educate consumers.


Adam Lambert, Season Eight Runner Up

Lambert was announced as the runner-up for the eighth season of American Idol. The LA Times later ranked Lambert 5th in its list of the top 120 American Idol contestants, selected from seasons 1 to 9 of the show, above season eight's winner, Kris Allen.



In 2013, the Chinese video game "Rift: Planes of Telara" was released, with Lambert as the celebrity spokesperson. Lambert creatively applied personal references to the game, such as “being ‘Cuckoo’ onstage,” “defeating all of the experts to be the ‘idol’ of America,” and “defeating the opponent to get on the Billboard charts.” He is even able to pull off speaking some Chinese, which is no small feat for someone that doesn’t speak the language.


Adam is not the only American superstar to take advantage of this endorsement opportunity. American professional basketball player Dwayne Wade has also endorsed the “RIFT” Chinese video game. According to a report by Ballislife last week, Wade was rumored to have been paid an 8-figure sum for the endorsement. 


More Branded Celebrity Stardom To Come

With American Idol as well as its counterparts, the contestants have made an impact to the national viewing audience in past seasons. These newly minted pop stars will continue to pop up in brand sponsored celebrity roles, as they can really impact purchasing behavior.

Are you interested in learning how to successfully partner celebrities to your brand - without spending a million?  Watch this short webinar to learn Hollywood insider tricks to create and kickstart an entertainment marketing campaign that is the perfect extension for your social media program.