Many Famous People Have Said Yes To Commercials And Endorsements Deals, But Here Are 16 Public Figures Who Couldn't Accept These Offers

Many celebrities have chosen to engage in prominent endorsement deals that have earned them considerable money and positive media attention.

Beyoncé sips Pepsi, Ed Sheeran gets ready to eat some food topped with Heinz ketchup, Charlize Theron poses for a Dior campaign

Beyoncé began doing Pepsi ads in 2002 and signed a deal worth $50 million with the brand in 2012, which resulted in some more showstopping commercials. Ed Sheeran earned £300,000 (around 375,000 in US dollars) for a 2019 Heinz ketchup commercial campaign. And Charlize Theron's glamorous Christian Dior J'adore perfume commercials were established with a 2004 contract paying the actor a reported $5 million annually.

Pepsi/Columbia, Heinz, Christian Dior / Via

Some public figures, however, have refused to lend their talents to certain brand partnerships. Here are 16 celerities who said no to commercials or endorsement deals.

ABC / Via

1.Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando poses for a promotional photo in 1994

When he was a guest on The Dick Cavett Show in 1973, Marlon declined Dick's request to recite lines for an eyeshadow promotional commercial.

He later appeared on Larry King Live in 1994 to promote his memoir, Songs My Mother Taught Me. The Godfather actor said he was advertising for the autobiography because he hadn't been made aware of a contractual arrangement.

"I've never sold a movie and this is the first time I've ever been on [television] beating the drum for some product. In this case, it's [Penguin] Random House's book ... If I didn't, I would be in breach of contract," he said to Larry.

Archive Photos / Getty Images

2.The Doors band members

The members of the Doors pose together for a photo in `1970

In 2002, John Densmore of the Doors wrote an article for The Guardian in which he discussed how the band has continuously turned down endorsements and commercials over the years. This includes John saying no to a deal paying up to $1 million to promote a weight loss program.

The drummer also told the story of when the band said yes to allowing Buick to use their hit, "Light My Fire," for an Opel car commercial in 1967. Bandmates John, Ray Manzarek, and Robby Krieger agreed to the deal while Jim Morrison was out of town. Once Jim heard about the commercial, the late singer-songwriter made efforts to ensure the track wouldn't be used in the car ads.

"[Jim] came back and went nuts," John said. "In retrospect, his calling up Buick and saying that if they aired the ad, he would smash an Opel on television with a sledgehammer, was fantastic. I guess that is one of the reasons why I miss the guy."

Jim's viewpoint inspired the band to maintain this attitude toward the idea of having their music featured in ads. Robby was quoted in the article as he explained how the group's choice would ultimately preserve the worth of their music.

"If we're only one of two or three groups who don't do commercials, that will help the value of our songs in the long run," Robby said. "The publishing will suffer a little, but we should be proud of our stance."

Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

3.Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is pictured while being honored at an NBA 75th Anniversary celebration event in  2022

In a 2020 interview, Michael's former agent, David Falk, revealed that the basketball legend rejected a huge sum of money for a one-off appearance. David also listed some of the requirements of the endorsement deal, including using Michael's name and face.

"I brought [Michael] a deal three years ago for $100 million," David said on the Boomer & Gio radio show. "And all he had to do was, other than giving his name and likeness, make a one, two-hour appearance to announce the deal, and he turned it down."

While he said no to this venture, Michael has made $1.8 billion before taxes for other various brand partnerships.

Jesse D. Garrabrant / NBAE via Getty Images

4.Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks stops by Pacific Design Center on November 02, 2021

In 2020, a CBD company's advertisement emerged online that used Tom's likeness. It also displayed a falsified quote supposedly from the actor which promoted the company's products. Tom subsequently explained he wouldn't say yes to this advertisement under any circumstances via his Instagram account.

"This is false and an intentional hoax. I’ve never said this and would never make such an endorsement. Come on, man!" he wrote in the post, which displayed the fictitious ad.

Dr. Oz was also mentioned in the ad, and he likewise took to social media to dispute the claim that he endorses the company.

"Could not agree more with @tomhanks. This is a fake and misleading advertisement intended to take advantage of consumers using false claims and our likenesses illegally," Dr. Oz wrote on Twitter. "I am not involved with any cannabis companies."

Steve Granitz / WireImage / Getty Images

5.Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga arrives at the Grammys on April 03, 2022

Gaga rejected an offer to endorse the US Republican Party in 2013. According to the Washington Examiner, the pop star was offered a hefty $1 million paycheck to perform at the Republican National Convention, but she turned the money down and didn't appear at the event.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for The Recording Academy

6.Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top

ZZ Top members Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons are pictured as they perform live at Alfa Romeo City Sound in 2014

Gillette offered ZZ Top members Billy Gibbons and the late Dusty Hill $1 million to shave off their famous beards for a 1984 campaign, but they said no to the deal. Billy told BraveWords in 2012 that, even if presented with a higher sum of money, his response would remain the same.

"No dice," Billy said. "Even adjusted for inflation, this isn't going to fly. The prospect of seeing oneself in the mirror clean-shaven is too close to a Vincent Price film … a prospect not to be contemplated, no matter the compensation."

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7.Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan attends the "Andre The Giant" premiere on March 29, 2018

According to Medium, Hulk was once approached by his agent to sponsor a grilling product. When he didn't pursue the endorsement further, it was ultimately carried out by George Foreman, who was another client of Hulk's agent.

Hulk missed out on a lucrative partnership; In 2014, George told AARP he has earned "much more" than $200 million from his George Foreman grills, and at certain points, he's made $8 million per month from the deal.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

8.Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow is photographed at the International Poverty Forum on March 04, 2022

Insider reported that Tim contemplated accepting $1 million for a one-day commercial deal after signing with the New England Patriots in 2013. He went to Patriots coach Bill Belichick for advice on whether or not to accept the proposal, and Bill advised him to reject the offer. Tim opened up about how Bill's input influenced his decision in his book, Shaken.

"Highly respecting the man, I turned down the deal. I didn't even think twice about it," Tim wrote. "I wanted the chance to impress Coach Belichick more than I wanted the money. I'll say that if I were on any other team, I would have probably said yes to the offer. But the thoughts he offered in our initial conversation mattered to me — even more than a million dollars."

Derek White / Getty Images

9.Venus Williams

Venus Williams arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in March 2022

King Richard showed the real-life decision a young Venus made regarding a brand endorsement opportunity. When she was just 14 years old, Venus had the chance to sign a $3 million contract to advertise with Nike. She ultimately said no to this arrangement, which paid off when she secured an endorsement deal with Reebok for $12 million seven months later.

Dimitrios Kambouris / WireImage / Getty Images

10.George Clooney

George Clooney poses at the premiere of "The Tender Bar" in October 2021

“I was offered $35 [million] for one day’s work for an airline commercial," George told the Guardian in 2021.

The actor then consulted with his wife, human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney, about whether or not to go through with the commercial. George chose to say no to the ad after considering the company's ties to a certain country.

"... We decided it’s not worth it. It was [associated with] a country that, although it’s an ally, is questionable at times, and so I thought, ‘Well, if it takes a minute’s sleep away from me, it’s not worth it,'" he said.

Mike Marsland / Mike Marsland / WireImage / Getty Images


Gotye attends the Grammys on February 10, 2013

Whereas other artists have profited from advertisements on YouTube, Gotye has opted to forgo music video commercials. In 2017, the singer-songwriter explained to why he's made this choice.

“I’m not interested in selling my music,” he said. “That’s the reason I don’t put ads on my YouTube channel, which seems strange to people in today’s climate, but that is a decision you can make. I’m like that with all my music. I generally never want to synch my music for products (on ads)."

Gotye went on to state the importance of creating art without giving in to commercialism.

“Ads are calling for our attention anywhere we turn in the world. If you can do something you care about and that other people care about and keep it out of that world that feels like it’s all about, ‘Hey, buy this stuff,’ then that’s a good thing," he added.

Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic / Getty Images

12.LeBron James

LeBron James is pictured in his Los Angeles Lakers gear as he prepares for a game against the New Orleans Pelicans on April 1, 2022

When he was still in high school and living in the housing projects of Akron, Ohio, LeBron rejected a $10 million endorsement deal with Reebok. Instead of signing this contract, which was prepared during a meeting with former Reebok CEO, Paul Fireman, LeBron chose to hold off and see what other brands might offer him.

"I started thinking, like, 'If this guy ... if he's willing to give me a $10 million check right now, what is it to say that Nike or Adidas is not willing to give me $20 or $30 [million] upfront,'" LeBron said on the Kneading Dough podcast in 2017. "Or to say that maybe the upfront money is not even the biggest thing. Maybe let's start thinking about the backend."

He later secured a $90 million deal with Nike in 2003.

Tyler Ross / NBAE via Getty Images

13.The Beastie Boys band members

The Beastie Boys pose for a photo in the late '90s

The Beastie Boys' hit song, "Sabotage," was requested to be used for a 2014 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie with the same title, the New York Daily News reported. The surviving members of the group, Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz didn't allow the song to be included in the movie. During a court hearing for a lawsuit against Monster Energy Drink, Mike said, although they'd been offered "a lot of money" for use of the song, "it felt like too much of an endorsement" to allow "Sabotage" to be included in the film.

Mick Hutson / Redferns / Getty Images

14.Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian poses at "The Kardashians" premiere on April 07, 2022

Kim was once offered $1 million to post photos of herself wearing a brand that often imitates Kanye West's Yeezy fashion line. The reality TV star was still married to Kanye at the time, and she went to him for advice as she considered the partnership.

"I don't want to say who the brand is, but they typically knock off Yeezy ... [Kanye was] like, 'No babe. I really don't want you to do that,'" Kim said on Ashley Graham's Pretty Big Deal podcast in 2018.

A week after Kim said no to the ad, Mother's Day rolled around. Kanye sent her flowers and an envelope with a generous thank you gift to show his appreciation to Kim.

"I open the envelope and it's a million dollar check, and it was a note saying thank you for always supporting me and not posting," Kim said. "And then, in the rest of the envelope, it was a contract to be an owner of Yeezy, to have my percentage."

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for ABA

15.Franz Ferdinand band members

Alex Kapranos, Nick McCarthy, Bob Hardy and Paul Thomson of Franz Ferdinand are photographed circa 2004

Another music group that has stayed away from commercial use of their work is Franz Ferdinand. Band members Alex Kapranos, Nick McCarthy, Bob Hardy, and Paul Thomson once rejected a £30 million (about $37.5 million) paycheck for an ad campaign deal, NME reported in 2006. Although this would have additionally boosted sales of their 2005 album, You Could Have It So Much Better, Alex stated the group "felt a lot better" walking away from this opportunity.

"It would have meant we sold four times as many copies of the album, just from the extra exposure it would have got," Alex said in a Scotland on Sunday interview. "But the advert meant we had to completely surrender all of our identity and integrity to this product that was being advertised."

"We just had to say no because of the gut reaction," he added. "It wasn’t because we didn’t want to sell more records. It was just because it didn’t feel right."

Lex Van Rossen / Redferns / Getty Images

16.Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix smiles in the Golden Globes press room on January 05, 2020

Joaquin has been a dedicated vegan since he was three years old. In 2021, Glamour UK wrote that the Walk the Line star rejected offers to participate in meat and dairy ads early in his career. When Joaquin's performance in Joker earned him a Best Actor Academy Award in 2020, he used this moment to discuss the injustice of practices executed in the dairy industry.

"Many of us, what we're guilty of is an egocentric worldview – the belief that we're the center of the universe," Joaquin said as he accepted his Oscar. "We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow, and when she gives birth we steal her baby even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. And then we take her milk that's intended for her calf, and we put it in our coffee and our cereal."

Kevin Winter / Getty Images