As any smart politician will tell you, politics is all about promising everything, but at the same time, nothing specific, so those words won’t bite you in the butt later. Unsurprisingly, that statement also perfectly describes how advertising works.
It doesn’t happen often, but there were six cases when actual presidents appeared on the screens trying to sell us something.
1. Barack Obama
In 2015, Barack Obama didn’t star in some fast food or credit card commercial; instead, he promoted his healthcare system — Obamacare and the website Healthcare.gov. That’s not super exciting or fun, but at least the commercial did its job. Even today, the whole world still remembers the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of Obamacare.
2. Ronald Reagan
As most people know, before becoming the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan was an actor. Not a great one, but still. When Reagan was 40 years old, he still had a lot of his charisma left over, and he used it all to advertise for the Chesterfield Tobacco Company. Those were the days when cigarettes were “cool,” and Regan indeed looked very cool and convincing.
3. Mikhail Gorbachev
When you think about Gorbachev, you probably remember an old bald Russian dude from that one Pizza Hut commercial. Yes, indeed, that was him in 1997! What’s that? Have you never seen that ad? It must be because it was made for the Russian audience who have never seen a Pizza Hut restaurant. The company filmed the ad in Moscow with a budget of one million dollar, most of which went straight to Gorby’s pocket.
After becoming a star, Mikhail received countless invitations from different companies, and in 2000 he starred in a commercial for the national railways of Austria, but he wasn’t the president anymore. Thirteen years later, this old fossil became a Louis Vuitton star in Berlin, appearing side by side with Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, and Catherine Deneuve.
4. Donald Trump
In 1995, there was another ad campaign for Pizza Hut restaurant chain, and it featured the US former president — Donald Trump. The commercial also featured his beloved first wife, Ivana. The ad was actually quite funny, as we got to watch Donald Trump eat a pizza slice starting from the crust. But there was a twist: the crust was filled with gooey cheese.
Other than the Pizza Hut commercial, you may have also seen Trump in ads for McDonald’s, Visa, mattresses, and probably more, making him one of the most prolific ad stars among politicians.
5. Vaclav Havel
In 2011, the first president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, appeared in an ad campaign for the automotive distributor AAA Auto. He was already retired from politics, but even an old man needs a new car from time to time. That’s exactly what the deal was: Havel gets a free whip, and in return, the AAA Auto will plaster his wrinkly face all over the country. It later turned out that the car he got was for his charity fund. He could have just asked for money, but, oh well.
6. Nicolas Sarkozy
And here we have Nicolas Sarkozy, ex-president of France, advertizing Bonux washing powder. This relic was circulating the newspapers and wherever Bonux ads were usually found back in 1967. Little Nick looks so happy, as if he got a new toy!
7. Volodymyr Zelensky
Similar to Barack Obama, the newly appointed President of Ukraine, Zelensky, appeared in a social ad rather than some burger commercial. On Independence Day, President Zelensky called on the world community to invest in the future of Europe and the world — Ukraine. Boy, was he right about that! Either way, it was a very wholesome and naive social ad, but it’s better than Pizza Hut.