- Brad Pitt and Bill Maher have visibly shown their disapproval for Costco's practice of sourcing eggs from caged hens, which they say contributes to animal cruelty. Both celebrities spoke out in support of Farm Sanctuary, an advocacy group dedicated to eradicating the mistreatment of animals in a factory farm setting.
- Pitt wrote a letter to Costco's CEO asking the company to stop sourcing eggs from these caged hens, while Maher slammed the retailer in an editorial in The New York Times last week, calling animal cruelty to hens in the egg industry, "business as usual."
- In a statement, Costco noted that there are "vigorous debates" surrounding the caged hens issue, wherein some believe cages are actually safer for the hens. The statement also pointed out that the retailer has seen sales increases of "more than twentyfold" for organic/cage-free eggs spanning almost this past decade.
Celebrity endorsements can be a major boon for food, beverage, and grocery retail companies, and the reverse can have an equally significant impact. Whether a celebrity chooses to participate in a company's marketing campaign or speaks out on his or her own in support or against the company, celebrity endorsement can have an effect on public opinion and consumers' perceptions of a particular product or company.
Notable celebrity spokespeople in the food and beverage industries include Neil Patrick Harris, who was tasked with reviving Heineken's flailing Heineken Light through a series of humorous commercials.
Mila Kunis, tapped by Jim Beam, brought a femme-charged, millennial-skewed persona to the spirits company.
One fierce debate in the food and sports industries are whether athletes should be endorsing products that are thought by some to be unhealthy, such as sugar-packed Gatorade and Oreo.