Why are celebs such as David Beckham and Salma Hayek trying to sell me fast food? How much are they getting paid? I can't imagine they would do it cheaply.
—Kyle R., via Facebook
No, they would not. Beckham may currently endorse Burger King smoothies that sell for something like three bucks, but his asking price for that service likely involved quite a few more zeroes. In taking the gig, he and Hayek, who is also on the B.K. roster, join a legion of stars who have sold us fast food, including Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Kate Upton—heck, even Rachael Ray did an ad for Dunkin' Donuts.
As for how much dough these folks rake in, I found out...
If french fries don't give you a heart attack, these numbers just might: According to people who would know, it's unlikely that Beckham or Hayek would even cast their thoughts toward a flame-broiled anything for less than seven figures. Seven generous figures. (When Timberlake cut a deal to endorse McDonald's in 2003, his reported asking price was $6 million.)
As for why these partnerships take place, that's a tougher nut. After all, these people aren't exactly poor. Beckham is expected to make an estimated $4 million just for his work with the L.A. Galaxy soccer team.
And Hayek's image is that of a borderline A-list movie star; her latest project, Savages, costars Benicio del Toro and was directed by Oliver Stone. Burger King, meanwhile, is viewed as down-market even by fast food standards. But according to people who follow the industry, B.K. comes in third in sales behind Mickey D's and Wendy's.
Beckham in particular also nurses a health-conscious image that contrasts with a smoothie that has 310 calories and 60 grams of sugar.
"Maybe the deal was so much money that it was impossible for them to walk away from it," supposes Noreen Jenney, president of the Celebrity Endorsement Network. "But I find that hard to believe with these two people."
Then again, stars do care about things other than money—their future money, for example.
"The Galaxy is in season right now," notes Jessica Nelson, spokeswoman for the marketing and celebrity endorsement company Davie Brown Entertainment. The timing, therefore, "could be good for him in terms of press, publicity, getting people to come out and see the games."
More fans, of course, equals even more endorsement deals that garner Mr. Posh Spice even more cash. Get it?