Rewind: Before Miley Cyrus Twerked, She Sold Clothes for Walmart

Wholesome Marketing of Singer's $20-and-Under Line Three Years Ago a Stark Contrast to Lewd MTV Performance

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Gritted teeth and erotic tongue gestures. Lewd dance moves in a latex nude bikini. She-bopping with the help of a foam finger.

It's hard to believe these are the signature moves of a girl who just a few years ago symbolized a parent-approved pastime for kids. Miley Cyrus is, to be sure, no longer known as the young daughter of country crooner Billy Ray with Disney Channel antics; she's super dirty and it's pissing parents off.

For this edition of Ad Age Rewind, we're not traveling as far back in time as we normally do. After all, Miley's only 20 years old, and her transformation from Hannah Montana into a full-time twerker who outrages the Parents Television Council came rather quickly.

"MTV continues to sexually exploit young women by promoting acts that incorporate 'twerking' in a nude colored bikini," said the group last week in a statement following her much talked-about performance on the Video Music Awards. "How is this image of former child star Miley Cyrus appropriate for 14-year-olds?"

That former child star was indeed wholesome, as evidenced by a commercial for Walmart she made just three years ago. It was to market a partnership with designer Max Azria to bring a junior line of graphic T-shirts pants and shoes to fans, all priced under $20. In the ad marketing the collection, Miley smiles sweetly while making peace signs. She dons suspenders and a hat, strums a guitar and exhibits some seriously restrained dance moves. Like, the kind that are embarrassingly dorky.

That Walmart deal and commercial were a bit of an anomaly. Miley's rarely done big endorsements to date -- which only adds to the envy when it comes to her already remarkable net worth at such a young age. In 2011, she was named #1 on the Top 10 Richest Teens in Hollywood, with $120 million.

That attitude towards advertising could be changing -- if her music video for her single "We Can't Stop" is any indication. It includes product placements for Beats and Eos lip gloss.

To see more from Ad Age's Rewind series, head here.

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