Thursday 30 March 2017

Salads, waist-trainers and…public toilets? A brief history of Kim Kardashian West’s endorsement deals

Kim Kardashain promoting Charmin public restrooms in New York
Kim Kardashain promoting Charmin public restrooms in New York
Television personality Kim Kardashian speaks at the 5th Annual Charmin Restrooms ribbon cutting in Times Square on November 23, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
Reality TV star Kim Kardashian
TV personality Kim Kardashian arrives at the launch of Mel B's Sugar Factory Couture Lollipop at Guys and Dolls Lounge on January 19, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
TV Personality Kim Kardashian attends the 5th Annual Charmin Restrooms ribbon cutting in Times Square on November 23, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images)

Meadhbh McGrath

Say what you will about her (and people do) – it pays to be Kim Kardashian West.

Did you think she was just really excited about that new waist-trainer she mentioned on Twitter? Of course not. But how much does she get paid to post that artfully constructed selfie with her cherished diet pills prominently displayed? 

Quite a lot, it turns out.

In leaked emails obtained by gossip site Radar Online, a negotiation between a Kardashian rep and the owner of a firm looking to hire Kim to promote their brand back in 2014 revealed that the reality star’s minimum endorsement rate ranges from $750,000 to $1 million. And that was TWO YEARS AGO.

The fee is just the beginning. There are a number of additional perks Kim also allegedly demands, including: five first class plan tickets (plus one in coach); first class hotel accommodation (one suite for Kim and standard rooms for others in party); portal to portal first class exclusive ground transportation; airport greeter service; security; glam fee (day rate for her hair and make-up squad); and per diem.

Think you’ve got it all settled once she’s signed on? Not so fast.

“We would need approval over photographer, all photos used in print materials, glam squad (hair, makeup, stylist, manicurist), hotel/airline/car service and PR usage,” the rep continued in the emails.

“We would need to review and approve (the media plan) with her PR team.”

Apart from leaving us wondering what poor soul gets stuck in couch, the list of demands reveals Kim is a savvy business woman well aware of her influence, but contradicts her oft-cited commitment to “authenticity” in how she represents herself.

However, a year later, Kim admitted her attitude to endorsement deals has changed. Speaking to an audience at the Cannes Lions festival last summer, she said she has become more choosy about promoting products since the birth of her first child, North.

“A couple of years ago, I probably was more inclined to work with brands that didn’t make as much sense. I used to do so many things that I was into at the time but maybe didn’t make sense for my brand.

“I think it was overkill. I’m glad that I was put in a position where I just wanted to take time off and figure out what my brand was.”

She went on to reflect on her social media endorsements in particular, noting that she no longer allows her Instagram account to be included in her promotional deals.

“Every deal I do, I never include my Instagram. I’ve been really strict about that. My Instagram is off limits,” she told the audience at the festival.

“It is my personal world. I know a lot of my brands get frustrated that I don’t promote as much as they would like. I love just posting when something is really authentic. I can smell a mile away when something is not authentic.

“I’m really choosy. I don’t follow a lot of people and I have unfollowed people who have promoted too much.”

The trouble with celebrity endorsements on social media is that the rules can be murky, as the posts often contain no mention of that fact that the celebrity is being paid to hawk that product.

Last August, Kim got in hot water with the Food and Drug Administration for promoting morning sickness medication without including the side effects.

However, while Kim’s Instagram (and attendant 64.9m followers) are “off limits”, her Twitter account is still up for grabs.

With a cool 42.3m followers, the jewel in reality TV’s crown can make more than the average Irish worker in just a handful of sponsored tweets, reported to cost $10,000 per tweet. Not bad for a day’s work.

But Kim has a history of dodgy social media endorsement deals, and came under fire in 2009 when she was accused of pocketing cash for sponsored tweets without disclosing that she was being paid, which she denied.

It seems somewhat unlikely that she would spontaneously choose to tweet the following about a company she had just starred in an ad for: “The Carl’s Jr chicken salads came out yesterday!! I’m on my way to Carl’s Jr for lunch now… have you tried them yet?”

We delved through Kim’s rich history of endorsement deals to find the five most dubious products she has promoted:



It’s no secret that the Kardashian/Jenner klan love a good waist trainer, but Kim may have single-handedly sparked the waist-training craze when she debuted her favoured PreMadonna slimming tool in 2014.

Kim is famous for her hourglass silhouette (as to whether it’s all natural or surgically enhanced, we wouldn’t dare to speculate), and credits these torturous corsets with helping her achieve her famous figure.

However, last week, the company was slapped with a lawsuit for “misleading” consumers by claiming the products will help you lose weight. The Kardashian sisters are not named in the suit, but it’s not the first time one of Kim’s endorsement deals ended in a lawsuit.

At-Home Laser Hair Removal


By now we are all intimately acquainted with Kim’s hairless body, and for a time in 2011, fans could get the look at home with her laser hair removal product from TRIA Beauty.

Kim promoted the product by claiming she had used it on her “entire body” and that “You’ll never need razors or shaving cream again.”

TRIA soon admitted that it was not safe for use on the face, head, ears, neck, nipples, or genital area, and is intended for use in conjunction with shaving. Of course, a competing brand were just as quick to correct by suing her for falsely deceiving consumers.

Couture Lollipops


The iconic Spice Girls endorsement deal with Chupa Chups was a thing of wonder, which had every late 90s teen craving a Baby Spice-themed lollipop. In 2010, Kim tried to get a flavour of the action by endorsing the Signature Series Couture Lollipops from The Sugar Factory Candy Store.

Although the “silver rainbow” and “champagne” flavoured pops are sadly no longer available, there was a time when you could savour the taste of a Kim lollipop for just $25. She even had her own $1m diamond-encrusted lollipop which she dutifully carted along to red carpet events.


Salad from Carl’s Jr

The American fast food company, known for their racy ads, managed to nab Kim to seductively peck at a grilled chicken salad in bed (and in a bubble bath) for their glossy TV ads in 2009.

While being the face of salads may not be every girl’s dream, it was apparently a necessary evil as, according to the franchise’s CEO Andy Puzder, Kim “wasn’t good at eating the burger”. Puzder added that in order to feature in a burger ad, “You really have to go at it. You really have to attack it.”

Kim, meanwhile, insisted that she picked the salad ad because it “fits perfectly with my healthy lifestyle”. So, there’s that.

Charmin public toilets


 It can be hard to argue the glam potential of promoting a toilet paper company, but that didn’t stop Kim from turning out for a special appearance at the grand opening of their public bathrooms in Times Square back in 2010.

In a press release, she said: “With my recent transition to New York, I’ve been checking out all the gifts the City has to offer visitors and New Yorkers alike. During the holiday season, I’m happy to join Charmin as they give the gift of the Restrooms near Times Square.”

Let's just let that sink in again:


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