Chinese lingerie firm drew international attention last week when it unveiled a billboard featuring a Princess Diana look-a-like playing cello in her skivvies. But the deceased British royal is only the latest celebrity to unwittingly plug a Chinese brand, says Tania Branigan in the Guardian. "Improbable celebrity 'endorsements' have a long, if not distinguished, pedigree." Here, a look at several other notables who have appeared without authorization in dodgy Chinese advertisements:
Bill Clinton, real estate huckster
In 2003, a "dodgy" Beijing real estate developer behind a project named "Lar Valley Treasure III" — the third in a series of developments — ran an ad in the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper claiming former President Bill Clinton was soon to visit their latest endeavor. "On his visit to Beijing," reads the ad, "[Clinton] expressed his love for Lar Valley Treasure II by writing the following words: 'Good luck with this project.'"
David Beckham, ED spokesman
Last year, British soccer superstar David Beckham "appeared" in a TV ad for a Chinese erectile dysfunction drug called USA Selikon. "You want to know how I keep myself hard on the pitch?" a voiceover asks in Chinese as footage of an interview with Beckham airs onscreen. "The American medicine... is of great help. And it is also my secret weapon with Victoria." Actors Keanu Reeves and Sean Connery also make unauthorized appearances.
Mena Suvari, condom covergirl
American Beauty actress Mena Suvari and British pin-up model Kelly Brook unknowingly helped promote safe sex in China after a firm called "The Chinese Eyesome" printed sultry images of the women on their condom packaging. OK, so this wasn't "necessarily an authorized act," says gossip blog Glamour Vanity, but it's not a bad idea. "Would you buy condoms if somebody as hot and curvaceous as Kelly is featured on them? I think yes."
Barack Obama, 'BlockBerry' lover
After news hit that President Obama had a special affinity for the BlackBerry smartphone, a Chinese gadget-maker decided to use the president's face to market their knockoff device, the "BlockBerry 9500." While we weren't able to verify this with Robert Gibbs, say Jason Dean and Ellen Zhu The Wall Street Journal, "we’ll go out on a limb and say that Obama’s presence in the ad is unauthorized."
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