In today’s celebrity obsessed culture, profiteering from ‘personality’ is big business and unsurprisingly footballers have not been immune. For decades now, marketing and advertisement companies have utilized the heroic status of our games most high profiled players as a means of converting these profiles into pounds. Some are wildly successful – David Beckham’s Emporio Armani poster campaign in 2008 was reported to have increased sales of their boxer shorts by over 150 percent – while others produce nothing more than collective hilarity.

From Viagra to Video Games, Jack Simpson picks out six of the most misguided or downright mystifying footballer endorsement decision of the past three decades.

Chris Kamara – Street Soccer

‘No Kammy, nooooo!!!!’ If only Ladbrokes’ screaming Italian could have been there for Chris Kamara in 2000. Pre-empting the release of EA Sport’s popular title FIFA Street by several years, the little known Midas Games were the innovators behind the concept of an urbanized soccer simulation game. Yet, whilst EA Sports had the funds to ensure football’s biggest superstars could be utilized in marketing the title budget games company Midas Games could only cobble together enough quid to get Sky Sport’s most ‘streetwise’ pundit. Excruciatingly bad gameplay, some equally bad graphics and a cover that implied there was nothing more street than a perm, a ‘tache and a Sheffield United shirt; it was not hard to predict the varying successes of both publications. Ten years down the line FIFA Street has now sold countless millions of copies . Contrastingly, the ironically named Midas Games has illustrated how very few of the things they touch turn to gold.  Following Kammy’s Street Soccer they continued to pursue sports personality endorsed games with Jonny Herbert’s Grand Prix and Gianluca Vialli’s International Manager to name but a few

Jason McAteer – Head and Shoulders

After the success of L’oreal’s David Ginola advertisement campaign, dandruff busters Head and Shoulders were under pressure to find an equally suave and sophisticated poster boy to rival the former Newcastle man. After scouring the Premier League for potential suitors there seemed only one choice. Step up, Birkenhead bombshell Jason McAteer. Nicknamed ‘Trigger’ at Bolton for his lack of common sense and member of the now infamous cream suited1996 Liverpool FA Cup Final squad, McAteer was neither suave nor sophisticated. This reaffirmed to the public Head and Shoulders’ ‘McAteeresque’ role in the hair care industry; functional.

Jason tries to figure out why his shoulders needed washing too.

Pele – ManMatters

It may be seen as ironic that one of the greatest performers the world has ever seen on the pitch has been the poster boy for a product for those that struggle to perform off it. Yet, while the decision to have Pele as the poster boy for erectile dysfunction advice agency ManMatters may have come as a surprise, in many ways it was inspired. If there was anybody that could persuade men questioning their masculinity to seek advice, it would have to be Pele. A man that has won three World Cups, a man who epitomizes vitality and masculinity, helped to usher in a new culture so those left feeling a bit deflated could finally stand up with their heads’ held high.

Peter Shilton’s Handball Maradona

Seeking profit out of successs is one thing, but to gain revenue from your own ineptitude and failings is a whole different story. In Britain, a country so well accustomed to sporting failure, we have become experts in making money out of misfortune.  This is underlined in the aftermath of England’s 1986 World Cup campaign.  Although Gary Lineker had left Mexico as the tournament’s top scorer, it was instead Peter Shilton who was rewarded for his inability to out jump a coked up five foot nothing Argentinian with his very own computer game. Bad taste, maybe, bad game, definitely. The title was not the only awkwardly put together aspect of the game. Coming at a time when computer consoles were in their infancy we can overlook the rudimentary graphics and stuttering game play. Nevertheless, there was a far greater flaw. Stuck in goal all afternoon with not even a hint of monkey rush this game enforced every child’s worst nightmare.

Blackburn Rovers – Venky’s Chicken

This advert was wisely never aired in England. However, its appearance throughout footy forums did little to dispel the fears of Blackburn Rovers’ fans that their club was being run like some sort of KFC from hell. In an advert that seems more David Lynch than David Dunn, we are placed in the Blackburn changing room during some sort of earthquake. Things only get stranger from that point as the Blackburn squad precedes to tuck into their pre-match meal that consists solely of Chicken Drumsticks that come in various shades of radioactive red. The images of the feast are broken up with cutaways of ‘inspirational’ messages such as ‘be proactive not reactive’ that with the events of the last 12 months seem amusingly ironical.

Gareth Southgate – BullBoy Shoes

‘Bullboy shoes is what you need, to get the power on your feet!’

Initially the choice of Gareth Southgate as the face of Bullboy shoes was an inspired decision. Firstly, the shoes like Southgate were not the most aesthetically pleasing. Secondly, he was part of a successful England team that were hotly tipped for success at a home championships.

Unfortunately, Southgate was dropped after his limp penalty against Germany at Euro 96 proving Bullboy shoes did anything but ‘get the power on your feet’. He was replaced by none other than Alan Hansen handing out free shin pads.