Soccer Stud Cristiano Ronaldo Shills Weird Facial Fitness Gadget

Aug 04, 2014 at 1:33 PM ET

Celebrity athletes have endorsed everything from Snuggies to Viagra, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s latest pitch for a Japanese facial fitness product is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. When the Real Madrid striker appeared on Japanese television last month to promote a different line of fitness products, he seemed duly unimpressed by a demonstration of something called the Pao, a winged plastic paddle gadget that is essentially a Shake Weight for your face. But somewhere between that appearance and a presumably very large check, Ronaldo seems to have had a change of heart, as you’ll see in the commercial below. According to the company’s website, the Pao, which you place in your mouth, is designed to strengthen the facial muscles to maintain a youthful smile.

No word yet on how much money they had to pay Ronaldo for this to seem like a good idea—note that he never actually uses the product in the entire 30-second clip—but to be fair, the Portuguese soccer god isn’t the first fitness spokesperson to advocate for facial exercise. Greer Childers, the ’90s workout guru behind BodyFlex, has been conditioning her mug muscles for 20 years. “The facial muscles are just like the muscles in the rest of your body,” she says in this demonstration video of an exercise called “The Lion.” “If you work them, they will respond, too.”

There is also “Facercise,” a regimen from former model Carole Maggio that purports to be a natural alternative to plastic surgery. “Just as a body builder can develop particular muscles in his or her body, a particular facial feature can also be developed and accentuated by performing a specific facial exercise,” Maggio writes on her website. She’s even been endorsed by Dr. Oz.

Of course, there’s scant scientific research on the benefits of face exercise, and most doctors will tell you that facial aging has more to do with the collagen levels in the skin than it does rock-hard cheek muscles. But look at what it has done for Ronaldo’s smile in the last month—you just can’t buy those kind of results.