Winning Celebrities And The Companies They Endorse(Photo: Schalk van Zuydam, AP Photo)

Since the late 1930s when Red Rock Cola hired baseball great, Babe Ruth to endorse its soft drink brand, companies around the world have used athletes and celebrities to promote their products. Companies utilize celebrity endorsements as part of an entire branding process to communicate their brands to particular sets of customers. When selecting a celebrity endorser, a company might consider the attractiveness of the celebrity (in terms of physical appearance, intellectual capabilities, competence and lifestyle), the credibility of the celebrity (his or her perceived expertise and trustworthiness) and the apparent compatibility between the celebrity and the brand.

Companies expect to see a return on their investments—both in terms of rising stock prices and increased sales—when paying the big bucks to sign a celebrity. Research has shown that stock prices rise one quarter of one per cent following the announcement of an athlete endorser, and sales increase an average of four per cent. Sales may also enjoy a bump whenever the athlete experiences a career triumph such as a Grand Slam win or Olympic gold medal. Here are six celebrities and the companies they endorse.