Celebrity Endorsements for Retail and Restaurant Chains

Subway's Jared Fogle Trains For The ING New York City Marathon
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When Jared Fogle, the longtime spokesperson who single-handedly helped create a "healthy fast food" brand image for the Subway restaurant chain, pleaded guilty to child pornography charges and traveling across state lines to have sex with teenage girls, the precarious nature of celebrity endorsements in the U.S. retail industry was reinforced.

When the image of a celebrity matches the image of a retail company, chain or restaurant, like it seemingly did with Fogle and Subway, the endorsement can be a hit on both sides of the advertising equation.

 But the Subway spokesperson scandal illustrated clearly that even a longtime celebrity endorsement hit can quickly become a miss when the image of the endorser or the endorsed goes amiss.

Retail companies, restaurants and chains are generally less likely to choose a celebrity endorsement strategy as a brand-building strategy compared to individual product marketing campaigns which often take use a celebrity-centered endorsement strategy.  The reason is because while promotions for the latest and greatest products come and go, retail companies, stores, and restaurant chains endure.

Even though Subway hopes that its customers forgive and forget its association with Jared, the Subway brand image will be at least a little bit tainted until entire generations of Subway commercial viewers lose their long-term memory about the shocking revelation that an "all-American" restaurant chain built its business using a spokesperson who was allegedly using his Subway celebrity to victimize children in a most unappetizing way.

What follows is a comprehensive list of famous sports, music, television, and movie stars who have endorsed US retailers in the 20th and 21st century television, print, radio, and online advertising campaigns. Viewing the list of celebrity endorsers for each company reveals the type of brand image the retailer was attempting to cultivate, and the customer demographics it was attempting to appeal to.

This list is arranged alphabetically, according to the name of the retail company. The celebrity spokespersons listed under each company name are arranged alphabetically, not in any kind of chronological order.

Celebrity Endorsement Hits and Misses for Retail and Restaurant Chains

Abercrombie & Fitch

  • Albert Reed ​

Ace Hardware 

  • Suzanne Somers ​

Albertson’s 

  • Patricia Heaton,TV actor best known for  the "Everybody Loves Raymond" TV Series​

Apple 

  • Alan Greenspan
  • Barry White 
  • Bob Dylan 
  • David Mitchell
  • Einar Orn
  • Feist
  • Gisele Bundchen, supermodel
  • Jeff Goldblum 
  • John Hodgman
  • Justin Long 
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 
  • Kevin Costner 
  • Robert Loggia
  • Robert Webb
  • Spike Lee
  • Tony Hawk
  • Verne Troyer
  • Will Ferrell
  • Wynton Marsalis​

Avon 

  • Jacqueline Bisset 
  • Carmen Electra 
  • Heather Locklear 
  • Susan Lucci
  • William Shatner​

Burger King 

  • Adam Carolla 
  • Brooke Burke 
  • Dan Cortese
  • Darius Rucker
  • Deion Sanders
  • Donald Trump 
  • Joel McHale 
  • John Leguizamo
  • Meadowlark Lemon 
  • Mr. T
  • Puff Daddy
  • Rachael Ray
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar
  • Seth Green
  • Shaquille O’Neal
  • Steve Harvey ​

Circuit City 

  • Mike Ditka 


Denny's Restaurant 

  • Isabel Sanford 
  • Sherman Hemsley ​

Domino’s Pizza 

  • Aasif Mandvi 
  • Benjamin Salisbury 
  • Calvert DeForest 
  • Donald Trump 
  • Leslie Nielsen ​

Gap 

  • Andie MacDowell
  • Ashton Kutcher
  • Brittany Murphy 
  • Claudia Schiffer
  • Danny Glover
  • Davis Guggenheim
  • Dennis Hopper
  • Forest Whitaker
  • Gus Van Sant 
  • Jean Claude Van Damme 
  • John Mayer
  • Julie Delpy 
  • Kate Capshaw 
  • Ken Watanabe 
  • Kiefer Sutherland 
  • Laura Prepon 
  • Lenny Kravitz 
  • Liev Schreiber 
  • Lindsay Lohan 
  • Liv Tyler 
  • Lucy Liu 
  • Marcia Gay Harden 
  • Marianne Faithfull 
  • Mekhi Phifer
  • Melanie Griffith
  • Michael Vartan
  • Mila Jovovich
  • Missy Elliott
  • Natalie Imbruglia
  • Regina King
  • Sarah Jessica Parker
  • Sarah Silverman
  • Scarlett Johnansson
  • Steven Tyler
  • Taye Diggs
  • Tina Fey
  • Twyla Tharp
  • Will Ferrell
  • William H. Macy​

JC Penney 

  • Dietrich Bader 
  • Kenny Rogers ​

K-Mart 

  • Penny Marshall 
  • Rosie O’Donnell ​

KFC 

  • Colonel Sanders 
  • Jason Alexander 
  • MC Hammer 
  • Randy Quaid 
  • Ryan Stiles ​

Kohl’s 

  • Britney Spears ​

Lowe’s 

  • Magic Johnson ​

Macy’s 

  • Donald Trump 
  • Jennifer Lopez 
  • Jessica Simpson 
  • Madonna 
  • Martha Stewart
  • Puff Daddy ​

McDonald's 

  • Al Lewis 
  • Alfonso Ribeiro 
  • Ashley Olsen 
  • Barbara Billingsley 
  • Beyonce Knowles 
  • Bill Elliott 
  • Bob Denver 
  • Britney Spears 
  • Buddy Ebsen 
  • Carl Lewis 
  • Charles Barkley 
  • Chris Burke 
  • Chris O’Donnell 
  • Christopher Meloni 
  • Corey Feldman 
  • Dennis Rodman 
  • Don Adams 
  • Donald Trump 
  • Dwight Howard 
  • Dwight Yoakam 
  • Erin Murphy 
  • George Foreman 
  • Hakeem Olajuwon 
  • Heather O’Rourke 
  • Heidi Klum 
  • James Brown 
  • Janet Jackson 
  • Jason Alexander
  • Jennifer Lopez 
  • Joey Fatone 
  • Justin Timberlake 
  • Keith Sweat 
  • Kelly Ripa 
  • Kelsey Grammar 
  • Ken Osmond 
  • Kobe Bryant 
  • Lance Bass 
  • Larry Bird 
  • Lebron James 
  • Little Richard 
  • Mark Antony 
  • Mary Lou Retton 
  • Mary-Kate Olsen 
  • Michael J. Fox 
  • Michael Jordan 
  • Michelle Kwan 
  • Morgan Freeman 
  • Rachel McAdams 
  • Serena Williams 
  • Sheryl Crow 
  • Steve Garvey 
  • Tara Reid 
  • Tom Joyner 
  • Tony Dow 
  • Tony Hawk 
  • Vanna White 
  • Wayne Brady 
  • Wayne Gretzky 
  • Yao Ming ​

Office Max 

  • Richard Jeni​

Old Navy 

  • Fran Drescher 
  • Isabel Sanford 
  • Sherman Hemsley​

Papa John’s Pizza 

  • Dan Marino 
  • Jerry Jones ​

Pier One 

  • Kirstie Alley ​

Pizza Hut 

  • Ashlee Simpson
  • Ashton Kutcher
  • Brittany Murphy
  • Caprice Bourret
  • Cindy Crawford
  • David Robinson
  • Deion Sanders
  • Dennis Rodman
  • Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate 
  • Fran Drescher
  • Haley Joel Osment 
  • Ivana Trump 
  • Jeff Gordon 
  • Jerry Stiller 
  • Jessica Simpson 
  • Jim Breuer 
  • Lindsay Lohan 
  • Marvin Hagler 
  • Michael Strahan
  • Mikhail Gorbachev
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Pamela Anderson
  • Queen Latifah 
  • Ringo Starr
  • Rush Limbaugh
  • Ryan Stiles
  • Spike Lee

Radio Shack 

  • Alex Rodriguez 
  • Cal Ripken 
  • Daisy Fuentes 
  • Dennis Miller
  • Isaac Asimov 
  • Kristen Schaal 
  • Lance Armstrong 
  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • Shaquille O’Neal
  • Teri Hatcher
  • Vanessa Williams 
  • Howie Long 

Sears 

  • Arnold Palmer 
  • Billy Dee Williams 
  • Bob Vila 
  • Brett Favre 
  • Lauren Hutton 
  • Stephanie Powers 
  • Ty Pennington 

Staples 

  • Alice Cooper 
  • Brian Posehn
  • Engelbert Humperdinck 
  • Jo Lo Trugliov 

Starbucks 

  • Andy Richter 
  • Joe Scarborough ​

Subway 

  • Michael Phelps ​

Taco Bell 

  • Charles Barkely 
  • Shaquille O’Neal ​

Talbots 

  • Julianne Moore ​

Target 

  • Amy Grant 
  • Ashley Olsen 
  • Britney Spears 
  • Bronson Pinchot 
  • Camryn Manheim 
  • Cheech Marin 
  • Don Knotts 
  • Garth Brooks 
  • Glada De Laurentiis 
  • Heidi Klum 
  • Ian Somerhalder 
  • Ice-T 
  • Jack LaLanne 
  • Jamie Lidell 
  • Joey Fatone 
  • Justin Timberlake 
  • Kathy Griffin 
  • Kevin Federline 
  • Lance Bass 
  • Wayne Newton ​

Texaco 

  • James Earl Jones ​

The Gap 

  • Erykah Badu 
  • Rosanna Arquette
  • Selma Blair
  • William S. Burroughs​

Wal-Mart 

  • Ashley Olsen 
  • Beyonce Knowles 
  • Garth Brooks 
  • Mary-Kate Olsen 
  • Paul Harvey 
  • Queen Latifah 
  • Steve Garvey ​

Walgreens 

  • Charles Osgood 
  • Nancy Marchand 
  • Paul Harvey ​

Wegmans 

  • Alec Baldwin ​

Wendy's 

  • Clara Peller 
  • Dave Thomas, Wendy's founder who gained much of his fame because of the long-running TV ad campaigns which featured him