Celebrity and Big Name Companies That Have Had Collaborations Go Terribly Wrong

By: Ene Ayegba | Last updated: Nov 03, 2023

Don’t have a good marketing strategy? One popular solution is to hire celebrities as brand ambassadors for your products and services and feature them in your ads. This can be an effective way of promoting your business, especially if the celebrity is trusted and loved.

Unfortunately, sometimes celebrities and companies team up for collaborations that turn out to be a disaster. These partnerships can be controversial and cause a lot of problems for the celebrity and the company. Let’s check out some celebrity/company collaborations that went terribly wrong.

Kendal Jenner and Pepsi

In 2017, Kendall Jenner starred in a Pepsi commercial that sparked outrage. The ad showed the Keeping Up With the Kardashian star handing a can of Pepsi to a police officer during a protest, seemingly suggesting that a can of soda could solve serious social issues.


Source: Insider Business/ Youtube

Unfortunately, many people found the ad insensitive and accused it of trivializing important social movements like Black Lives Matter. Eventually, the soda brand withdrew the advertisement. “Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize,” the company said in a statement.

Alicia Keys and Blackberry

Blackberry’s collaboration with pop music star Alicia Keys didn’t go well due to a single mistake. In 2013, Blackberry partnered with Keys and appointed her as their creative director. The marketing strategy was for her to revive the struggling smartphone brand.


Source: thealiciakeysmedia/ Youtube

However, it was a clear indication that the superstar wasn’t faithful to the brand after she tweeted from her iPhone! She claimed her phone was hacked, but the damage was already done.

Dj Khalid and Centra Tech

In 2017, music producer DJ Khaled and high-profile boxer Floyd Mayweather promoted a cryptocurrency company called Centra Tech. Many people invested money in it based on their influence and endorsement but sadly got scammed.


Source: John Reed Stark/ Linkedin

The company raised over $32 million from investors until it was later discovered that Centra Tech was not operating legally, and it misled investors, causing them to lose millions of dollars. Luckily, the celebrities escaped the lawsuits filed by aggrieved investors.

Dylan Mulvaney and Beer Brand “Bud Light”

Popular Transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney teamed up with beer brand Bud Light to promote their “Easy Carry Contest.” For the contest, customers were offered a chance to win $15,000 for uploading videos of them carrying as many cans of beer as possible.


Source: ITV News/ Youtube

However, this collaboration received widespread criticism, especially from conservatives who believed it promoted “wokeism” and “gender propaganda.” It escalated to the point of people throwing away cans of Bud Light and others destroying them with an AR-15.

Source: Instagram