Céline Dion has been a fixture in our ears and minds for more than three decades, largely owing to the ubiquity of her songs on Canadian lite-format radio and in film and television soundtracks. Yet our exposure to Dion goes on and on in the spaces between all that Canadian content: the ads. As this YouTube-driven trip down the memory hole show, she’s been a willing promoter of myriad products over her career. The success of those products has sometimes paled in comparison to her own superstardom. Just because she’s a multi-platinum seller—and a charming actor—doesn’t mean she’s always a multi-platinum pitchwoman.
The high-altitude C note
In 2004, Air Canada emerged out of post-9/11 bankruptcy with a major ad campaign starring Dion, complete with a custom-made song about you and I being meant to fly (nothing about meant to pay checked luggage surcharges). Her star wattage grated the airline worker’s union after deep wage cuts in restructuring, yet the song was ubiquitous on Air Canada flights for some time, likely making WestJet the preferred carrier for Céline haters.
All-you-can-eat-ribs Back to Me
Dion herself doesn’t appear in this 2018 Applebee’s ad, which unites the torchiest (and inarguably best) Céline song with some blonde woman passionately enjoying pork riblets. With bottomless plates of chain restaurant meat, “All coming back” sounds more like a digestive function than a power ballad.
She’d be caught dead at a rotisserie chicken joint
A Dion sorta-lookalike waitress remarks upon here Célinesque hair and smile, before remarking that the singer wouldn’t slum it in a Saint-Hubert. And guess who’s at the next table, with a wink and grin? The ad ends by explaining Dion donated proceeds from the ad to a cystic fibrosis charity. (Her late husband and manager also flogged the chain’s rotisserie chicken.)
Her greatest starring role yet
Maybe it’s all the commercial work she’s done over the years, or maybe it’s the years on stage in Vegas rubbing off—but Dion has gotten progressively better at acting in commercials. This ad depicts her getting violently arrested after she magically converts a hospital’s gender-segregated newborn nursery ward into a gender-neutral room full o’ stylish babies. In this case, she’s promoting a new children’s fashion label that she cofounded, named Celinununu.
The diet soda that makes her smile!
Here’s Dion at 23, back when it wasn’t so hard to find a non-retro glass bottle of Diet Coke. “Crazy how it makes you smile,” she sings to us, making one wonder about the sort of embarrassing belch one would emit if one actually guzzled sugar-free soda before a concert. Come for her machine-gun vocal blast, stay for the inexplicable cameo by cartoon viking Obélix.
Par 3, parfois
Her first U.S. ad was shot in 1998, after her Titanic success—hence the dreadful “my drive will go on” golf pun here. Odd as the lanky singer looks swinging a club in a skirt, Dion is apparently an avid golfer.
The car wreck
Dion’s relationship with Chrysler goes back to at least 1988. As her fame bridged into the English Canada and U.S. markets, the carmaker inked a $10-million (US$) deal with her. Her January 2003 spots for the then-new Pacifica crossover vehicle featured her song “Drove All Night.” But dealers mostly complained it did a terrible job of highlighting their vehicle, saying it targeted an older demographic than the vehicle did. This spelled the end of her car-hawking days, though not before the sketch show Mad TV parodied this ad.
The silent Céline sedan spot!
In 1990, before Dion became an anglo megastar, she was famous enough in Québec to promote cars without singing or saying a word. Here, she shimmies around a Plymouth Sundance (which is also a Dodge Shadow, don’t ask) and removes a completely-unsafe-by-today’s-standards carseat from the back. That same year, she also balladeered for the Plymouth Laser. The now-defunct Plymouth brand had a similar multi-ad deal at the time with a non-singing Tina Turner, because that’s how comparably big Dion was in Québec at the time.
Starring Céline as Aretha
This longform L’oreal ad would have us believe that Queen C dyes her own hair. On the other hand, it’s completely believable that she prances around hotel rooms and entire cities singing “Respect.”
A timeless Canadian institution—and she’s singing for Hudson’s Bay!
From 1995, in Dion’s short-hair days. She was singing for The Bay long before the store was selling her luggage brand.
Plop, plop, fizz, wink
If you want the answer to ‘Is there anything Céline Dion won’t promote on TV?’ the best answer might come in this 2000 ad for a long-gone Alkaseltzer-ish dissolving multivitamin. As Dion ads go, this one’s not bad, with its “music to my ears” pun and a trademark Céline wink not once, not twice, but thrice.