Is it slightly tacky that Serena Williams used her honeymoon to shill for booking.com?

the 2017 Glamour Women Of The Year Awards NY

For years, Serena Williams was the #1 women’s player in the world, and the #2 women’s player in endorsements and overall earnings. Those were the years where Maria Sharapova wasn’t winning much of anything, yet Sharapova was consistently making twice as much as Serena from advertising and endorsement contracts. When the Dopapova scandal happened last year, Maria lost some endorsements and some companies hit pause on her contracts. Within a few months, Serena became the #1 woman in overall earnings. What’s my point? I don’t mind that Serena Williams gets paid. I want her to get paid. She’s extraordinary, a once-in-a-generation athlete and icon. I love seeing her in commercials and print ads, and I don’t even mind that she’s mostly on social media these days to shill for her side-businesses and sponsorship contracts.

Now, all that being said, will Serena ever come to a point where her shilling comes across as slightly tacky? I didn’t bat an eye at the fact that she wore bejeweled Nikes at her wedding – I thought it was cute, and I liked that Nike did something special for her. I didn’t blink when I saw that Serena and Alexis’s wedding including a Gatorade refreshment bar, so the guests could stay hydrated at the reception. I thought that was sort of cool, and I liked that Gatorade is ride-or-die for Serena. But this might be the straw that broke the camel’s back for me: Serena used her honeymoon trip to advertise Booking.com:

A week in paradise. Thanks @bookingcom for helping us find the perfect honeymoon villa. #BookingYeah

A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

Again, I appreciate that Serena’s getting paid. If you told me that the money could either go to Maria or Serena, I would want you to give the money to Serena every damn time. I want Serena to be insanely rich and live her best life. But here’s the thing: she’s already crazy-rich!! Girl is seriously WEALTHY. She’s rich enough to enjoy a private honeymoon without using that honeymoon to shill for Booking.com on an Instagram post and in People Magazine. It reminds me a lot of Kevin Jonas getting a corporate sponsorship for his daughter’s birth. Like, his first child’s birth was sponsored by a laundry detergent. It’s tacky!! These are your private moments – don’t sell them to corporations, maybe?

2017 Women Of The Year Awards

Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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99 Responses to “Is it slightly tacky that Serena Williams used her honeymoon to shill for booking.com?”

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  1. WMGDtoo says:

    VERY VERY TACKY. She has loads of money. I don’t get it.

  2. Eliza says:

    As if she didn’t receive the honeymoon for free or heavily discounted because of this promo. The rich dont stay rich by spending their own money. Tacky? Sure. Fiscally responsible? Yup.

  3. Susie says:

    I don’t care that she sold her honeymoon because at this point I don’t think that was her “honeymoon” they way it is for the rest of us. She can go on a private vacation whenever she wants. That company wanted the title of honeymoon. Let her sell it.

  4. Erinn says:

    Kinda tacky, but if people are willing to pay her for it, who am I to judge. As long as she’s being upfront about the sponsorship or whatever.

  5. Loopy says:

    She is RICH and her man STINKING RICH…so yeah tacky and unnecessary.

  6. Toliveagain says:

    Kevin – not Nick – Jonas.

  7. Clare says:

    Ugh. Super tacky. Y’all got hundreds of millions in the bank and you’re going to sell your honeymoon like that? Gross.

    I mean I think she is great, and all the ish sold of the back of here insane talent (Including mattresses?) is fair enough and much deserved …but this is next level tacky. Even worse than a sponsored sports drink bar at the wedding.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      When do we think she crosses the line? Where is that line? A honeymoon is a trip, not a baby.

    • Peeking in says:

      People keep talking about keeping the honeymoon private, gosh, it’s not like Serena shared intimate details of her honeymoon, just who booked it and where. Who cares?

      Serena and Alexis are building a financial legacy for the child(ren) and future grand children. How do you guys think generational wealth accumulates, not by the first generation rich saying they have too much money.

  8. Mela says:

    CAN we talk about her awful eyebrows

    A little heavy handed with the brow pencil lately

  9. Beth says:

    That’s extremely tacky. Doesn’t she have enough already? Some of the things the rich and famous do to get money they don’t need, is so tacky and greedy

  10. Scal says:

    I mean it’s one short instavideo not tons and tons of snaps (ala Julianne Hough). It’s classy video and smart financally.

    I’ve seen way tackier. Way way tackier selling of honeymoons/weddings etc.

  11. Snowflake says:

    I don’t think its tacky. I would do it

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Thanks for being honest. She’s shilling for a web commerce site. She travels for work, it’s a good fit. If she shills for the actual resort etc., then we can pick on her just a little more. But only just a little. It’s really her business, no?

  12. LaraK says:

    Nope. She has corporate relationships. It’s a quid pro quo.
    She’s totally upfront about it.
    And it’s not like she changed her honeymoon to accommodate, and advertising a travel website when, you know, you travel is fine.
    So why not?

    But then I may be speaking from the lens of the financially troubled so take hat as you will :)

  13. Louise177 says:

    Not really. It’s not as if she did a commercial or day by day updates. It’s one blurb. Hardly enough to attack Serena.

  14. littlemissnaughty says:

    No. It’s not tacky at all. Celebs do this on Instagram ALL the time, especially when they’re travelling. And have we ever asked whether someone else’s endorsements were tacky? I don’t think so. As if Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston need the money. As if Julia Roberts needs that Lancome contract. As if Jake Gyllenhaal needs the Calvin Klein one. We don’t ask if there’s a “too far”. In fact, when Jolie did the Guerlain commercial, the tone of the post was completely different. Why? Because IG is not print? Because booking.com is not Guerlain?

    I have no problem with her getting paid at all. If only because she is paving the way for every female athlete of color who will come after her. Get the money!

    • lucy2 says:

      For me the issue is not that she did an endorsement – I am all for her cashing in on her success with endorsements. But there are a few things in life that shouldn’t be used to sell – weddings, children, etc. None of the examples you gave were anything other than a basic ad campaign, not using their private life moments to sell.
      I think there needs to be a public figure on / off switch, and celebrities need to turn it off now and then enjoy their private special moments in life without monetizing them.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Well, that’s a personal decision though. I can’t tell anyone how to live their life and I certainly won’t tell them how to make money if it’s not ethically questionable. They show off their kids and weddings all the time, it’s part of the game. It’s not my life so it’s not my place to turn up my nose at this. And again, most celebs do this now. Some are just a lot less obvious about it and their IG is a subtle mix of “private” and public, i.e. selling stuff. The package looks different but look at Reese Witherspoon’s IG. I’m not naive enough to think she doesn’t craft an image to sell that Draper James stuff. That image frequently involves her kids and dogs. That’s not a coincidence.

        Would I show off my kids? No. My wedding? Probably not. But it’s not like anyone would be interested anyway.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        A wedding is an event, it has no feelings and doesn’t need its privacy respected.

        A child is different.

      • lucy2 says:

        I agree using a child to sell is worse – the one that had his kid’s birth sponsored was so icky.
        A wedding may be an event, but the personal relationship it represents? If it were me, I wouldn’t choose to make those things as public as many do, and I wouldn’t use it as an opportunity to get an endorsement.

      • Kitten says:

        “A wedding is an event”

        Yeah…and this is exactly why I don’t understand weddings. It’s always about some huge show and never about the actual union.

        I think it’s a bit tacky but whatever. Her wedding, her decision, her business.

      • Veronica says:

        Pfft, if somebody was willing to pay me for my honeymoon, I’d do that shit in a heartbeat. Being a millennial has taught me very clearly the value of wealth by the subsequent paucity of it within my own life. I’d gladly do tacky to pay down school loans.

  15. Mimi says:

    Serena seems to want to be a certain kind of celebrity very, very badly. Her wedding coverage to me was clearly engineered by her PR people because she does not normally attract that kind of attention for her personal life and she is not a paparazzi target. I think it’s ok to call her thirsty at this point, since the term is freely thrown around for other starlets on this site.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Or maybe she was very happy and wanted to share that with her fans.

      • Tan says:

        When others do that
        We call them thirsty and don’t defend it as them sharing their happiness

        Or is Serena allowed to be special kind of happy?

      • magnoliarose says:

        Serena is allowed a special kind of happy. I am not going to pretend to hold her to the same standard and make ridiculous excuses and stretch all over the place to justify myself. She is special to me and a hero. Serena is one of the best athletes in the world and a living tennis legend, and yet she doesn’t get treated like one. The abuse she took for her looks would have been more than most people could withstand, I know I would have had a hard time, but she kept going through it all.

        She has to go far for me not to defend her. What she has achieved in the poshest of country club sports coming from Compton and trained on public courts. She won a Grandslam pregnant!
        Sure she’s thirsty for some attention but it has been long overdue so she is milking the moment.

        But I need to get her in a makeup chair and fire her stylist.

  16. Maus says:

    I mean …it would’ve been tacky in 2012 but it’s the new normal now and why shouldn’t she benefit? She’s been a great role model. Let her have her fun!
    As for the eyebrows, it looks like a bad tattoo job— I wish she’d get it lasered off and mircobladed in a more flattering way.

  17. HK9 says:

    Yes it’s tacky and yes i would totally do it. :-)

  18. Tan says:

    Serena does ans says a lot of stuff which I might have various objections to, however she is a hallowed angel here in this site

    I am not sure how to react at the miniscule criticism launched at her.

    She is human, she makes mistakes and we can judge her like we judge every other famous people. So I am glad we r raising our eyebrow at her tackiness

  19. Isa says:

    A 23 second video where she’s just standing on the deck of a house? Heck yea I would do it. Make that money, Serena.

  20. JA says:

    tacky AF. You got money use it to fund private moments then milk the corporate sponsorships for public/ image use. Makes her/ them look cheap especially since we know both got buckets of money.

  21. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m generally tired of all shilling. From the Kardashians to hell I don’t know Ms. Goop? Everything that’s done, said, worn or tossed has a price tag. A wedding and honeymoon, I feel should be personal, meaningful and memorable in ways that can’t be ubiquitously shared with the world. What happens today is that everybody is ‘selling out.’ But these are my personal feelings; it seems nothing is sacred, discreet or untouchable anymore.

  22. ANOTHER DAY says:

    Does it scream “i will shill whatever in name of the almighty dollar?” Sure it does. Why should she be any different? I don’t hold her on a pedestal any different than any other celebrity / athlete.

  23. Spring says:

    Yes, I think it’s tacky when people monetize even a little bit of their private occasions. I wouldn’t have thought twice had it occured in the context of her tennis or other business travels. The times have really changed in terms of how much we see this happening, and I respect celebs (and less-famous people) who refrain. I’d have expected this from the Kardashians, and I probably shouldn’t be surprised when Serena and others I really admire do it. But I am.

    • bubbles says:

      why would you expect any differently? serena is a long time kim kardashian bestie. she’s been at both her weddings, they are very good friends (the whole family is) and serena likes the kind of notoriety the kardashians have. nobody writes about it on here because ::shrug:: serena worship but she’s very tight with kim.

  24. Sarah B says:

    Tacky or not, get your money, honey.

  25. Jayna says:

    Very tacky. She’s mega-wealthy. It’s her honeymoon. Focus on that, not monetizing it.

  26. Harla says:

    It would have been wonderful if she gave her booking.com honeymoon to a military couple or perhaps a couple struggling with an illness.

  27. editrix says:

    Like you wouldn’t. The ad isn’t the least bit intrusive. If you’re a public figure an pay the price with a loss of privacy why not make money/get a break on expenses? I certainly would. And so would most people. Rich people get that way from working hard and making decisions that help them make more.

  28. Electric Tuba says:

    I ain’t mad. Get you some! I would if I could and I will if I can. I’m never worried about making too much money or offending some crazy judgmental pearl clutchers over something that’s not even close to hurting anyone. Get it woman. Get. It. Haha

  29. Olive says:

    it’s not “slightly tacky” – for two people with the amount of money they have, it’s straight up tacky. this is the kind of crap broke-ass tori spelling does!

  30. Luca76 says:

    Can we talk about the Williams sisters though? They are incredible athletes but they are incredibly tacky and that’s part of what makes them wonderful.

  31. Susie says:

    One thing to add while serena is insanely wealthy Alexis is not. People think cuz he founded reddit that he’s close to Zuckerberg money in fact they sold reddit in the earlier stages. From what i remember he’s share barely touched 10 million. In fact I think it was closer to 5. He’s making money now as an executive for reddit but he didn’t make the huge silicon valley dollars when he sold. He has pennies compared to serena.
    Also when travel is a shrug for you even if it’s your honeymoon I don’t think it’s a big deal which is why I don’t think it’s tacky

  32. AV says:

    I thought her entire wedding was super tacky: The ill-fitted dress, the bizarre industrial venue, the carousel? But it’s *her* wedding, not *my* wedding, so I don’t have to like it. Have you seen those pictures? She is having a good time! Everyone is smiling! I LOVE that she’s “tacky” about getting what she wants, because then she gets it. That’s how rich people stay rich – the more money you have, the less you spend on stuff. Take *everything* that is offered to you. If there’s a way you can spin something to your advantage, do it. At the end of the day you’ll have what you want, and everyone else will be sitting around bitching about how tacky it is and not having what they want.

    Get it, girl!

  33. Jennifer says:

    Well, I do like booking.com. :)

  34. Veronica says:

    Considering how many years she’s been dominating the sport world while making less than her dainty, blonde peers, I am not going to complain about her taking advantage to make more money. The Williams women put up with enough industry abuse for me to care.

  35. senna says:

    This issue is bigger than Serena. Ten years ago, a major celebrity like her never would’ve stooped to this level. They would have been made a laughingstock for shilling out their private lives. Now we somehow willingly accept that when we fire up instagram, a huge number of posts will be lifestyle marketers trying to spam us into buying things by integrating them into their actual lives, staging photo ops, and then hashtagging their corporate sponsors along with #blessed.

    Facebook got us started on the path wherein we trade our personal privacy to see what our friends are up to. And then that we trade our privacy to get better-targeted advertising and to be data-mined as subjects. And then Google showed us that if we literally let it stalk our every geographical movement and online purchase, it will recommend us the things we like and the places we want to go, which is very convenient but intrusive.

    I’m as goddamed lazy as any of you, so I am not about to cast aside my very convenient phone in a fit of moral pique. But because every other celebrity is no longer drawing the line on what is sacrosanct, and because we see many media influencers become wealthy while capitalizing on those advertising dollars, and because we are used to having much less privacy online than we did ten years ago, all of us are accepting this advertising intrusion on actual life as normal and part of the new reality. We’re like, “well, she got a heavily discounted honeymoon, so good for her.” It’s great to save money, but at what price? I’m worried about the wider culture around this more than I’m concerned about Serena’s choice to capitalize upon the opportunity, which certainly precedes and follows this one sponsored post.

  36. Tw says:

    One thing I’ve always admired about Angelina is that she donates the money she makes from her modeling campaigns.

  37. hkk says:

    Nah, not at all. Get it Serena! I mean if anyone can be doing it, why not her? I’m very very okay with it.

  38. perplexed says:

    It’s probably not much different from doing a Nike commercial — it’s simply a different forum/medium.

  39. Pandy says:

    Tacky! You’ve got loads o dough. At a certain point, you’re just a tacky hustler. Kardashian level. Ugh.

  40. Samantha says:

    I find it tacky. But it’s not specific to her. I generally find a lot of on-the-nose advertising by super rich people to be tacky. I’m a huge Fed fan and I find many of his advertisements tacky.

  41. Magenta says:

    They actually did take a real honeymoon, in the Bahamas at Kamalame Cay at a $35,000-per-week resort….which is basically just lunch money to Serena and Alex.

    But yes, tacky nonetheless

  42. Shannon says:

    Meh, not really. It’s not like she made her honeymoon into a reality show for them. She was probably going to post pics of it anyway – make that money girl

  43. Joozey says:

    Well if goopy did this- I‘d roll my eyes-
    But I dont know, Serena is just cool like that,
    and if she‘s comfortable with it- hell why not she has that kind of image and carries herself in that way, I dont mind it at all !

  44. whatever says:

    Yes this is tacky. She is being badly advised and I mean really, really badly! A women with her talent, level of fame and success should be aligning herself with the best companies in the world and nothing less than that. She should be above all this shilling yet she sells her baby shower pics, bachelorette party pics, wedding pics and honeymoon to the highest bidder like she’s some washed up reality tv star in need of some money and an extra 5 minutes of fame!. She has become an expert at making herself look downmarket.

  45. Hollz says:

    As a former travel agent, I hate booking.com.

    Other than that, I have no issue with this.

  46. Ladypine says:

    She actually got the Nikes custom made herself. She had worked with the woman in the past to do a bodysuit and posted about her on her Instagram. She apparently asked her to do the shoes with less than 24 hours before the wedding. Maybe this is a Marshawn Lynch and Skittkes situation where she often gets to endorse products she genuinely enjoys.