Now That Alicia Keys Is No Longer Blackberry's 'Creative Director' Can We Stop Using Pop Stars As Fake Creative Directors?

from the please? dept

Three years ago, we called out the stupid trend of big tech companies pretending that they'd hired some pop star as "creative director" after Intel had named Will.i.am to that role and Polaroid had done the same with Lady Gaga. A year later, we repeated what a dumb idea this was when Blackberry named noted iPhone user Alicia Keys to the same role. As we said, if this was, say, an actual music service, and the person was really involved, it might make sense. But the truth of all three of these situations was that they were little more than a promotional sponsorship deal pretending to be a "hire." And, this really discounts the hard work that actual creative directors do for these companies.

Either way, it should come as little surprise that Blackberry -- a company on the verge of not existing -- is now admitting that Keys is "leaving her role" exactly a year after it started. Let's be frank here: she's not "leaving her role." She had a one year endorsement/promotional contract, and that deal is now ending. The idea that she was actually employed as a creative director is clearly bogus. What did she do?
She appeared at numerous corporate events throughout the year and in some promotional material.
Right. Same exact thing as a typical celebrity endorsement deal.

For whatever reason, tech companies always seem to announce these things in January (often in conjunction with CES, which is taking place next week). Hopefully, this year, we can avoid such silliness. I don't want to hear about Justin Bieber becoming "creative director" at IBM or Miley Cyrus' new "job" as "creative director" at Microsoft.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:46pm

    Middle-age Mike is here.

    Hoo, boy! This is both most trivial item I can recall, and the most telling of your imminent "hardening of the attitudes". Gosh, you're geezering-up right before our eyes. This is practically "get off my lawn you little creative director" level.

    Face it, Mike, you hit your peak with "Streisand Effect" and it's been downhill since.

    On a sad note, I haven't seen any of my clones today...

    Google. Collecting and collating every bit.

    15:46:03[q-117-3]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 8:09pm

    I thought the same thing

    he's arguing about job titles now !!!!! WTF?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Ricky of Kokiri, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 8:10pm

    Who else is looking forward to Miley's new post, just to hear Microsoft update their Works software to "Microsoft Twerks"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Zem, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 8:37pm

    Looking Forwards

    Looking forwards to hearing that the NSA has appointed the ghost of Peter Sellers as their new creative director.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 9:02pm

    Re: Middle-age Mike is here.

    Shit - the asshole is back again.
    Must have missed the mother-ship.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 10:31pm

    ahh, it's good to see that my favorite show is back!
    OOTB vs Techdirt! New season starting, well, whenever really.
    I really hope you're being compensated in some way (but hopefully not sexually) in terms of your continued entertainment performances on this site. Now that you're back from xmas (which you chastised Mike for possibly not posting in these holiday weeks, which you failed to deliver on because you didn't post anything either :'( ) I look forward to another happy year of the utter hilarity of Mr. Out-of-the-blue vs the site of Techdirt.

    FULL DISCLOSURE: PAID FOR BY THE TIME BANDITS AND THE TWENTY FIRST AMENDMENT.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 10:35pm

    Re:

    You're right, job titles don't matter. Pop stars aren't pop stars. They're corporate cash cows, meant to generate content to sue over. They're no different from pornographic actors hired by Prenda.

    No, job titles don't matter.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Nick (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 10:36pm

    "... or Miley Cyrus' new "job" as "creative director" at Microsoft."

    Ugh. Gives a new meaning to the term "grinding" out sequel after sequel.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 12:59am

    I agree that purely promotional PR stunts are kind of silly, but please note that Alicia Keys has also personally initiated some interesting tech and music related projects, like eg. the creation of the virtual (i.e. computer based) instrument "Alicia's Keys" based on the sound of her own grand piano.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Tony, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 1:39am

    will.i.am

    It should be noted that will.i.am is actually kind of suited for that position. He attended the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles and designed a very sexy car, the IAMAUTO. The scope of his talents goes far beyond his ability to sing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 1:51am

    Alicia Keys Is No Longer Blackberry's Creative Director

    Shit, I might buy one now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 2:04am

    "she's not "leaving her role." She had a one year endorsement/promotional contract, and that deal is now ending. "

    therefore SHE IS LEAVING HER ROLE!

    her one year contract was as a endorsement and promotional contractor, her contract expired (after 1 year, as 1 year contract tend to do) and as such she is LEAVING HER ROLE as an endorsement and promotional contractor!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 2:49am

    Will Alicia open for the Rolling Stones or she doesn't roll that way?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    techflaws (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 3:01am

    reality check

    It's only in your batshit-crazy mind that your hard-earned title of ankle-biter #1 is anything to strive for.

    *clicks on report*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 5:43am

    Re:

    Which is not being a creative director.

    Since titles don't mean anything to you, anyone with a brain is a solar panel engineer. Which makes them infinitely more qualified than you since you can't even use English correctly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 6:32am

    going even further, cant we stop being lied to by companies using any celebrities to promote products that are, in the main, shit? (i am assuming they must be, otherwise why the need for celebrity endorsement in the first place?)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Ash, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 7:03am

    Re: will.i.am

    "designed a very sexy car, the IAMAUTO"

    Surely you jest? It was the i.am.auto, which is obviously a much sexier and much more creative design than you suggest. That you were unwilling to credit Mr i.am (or, as personal friends are lucky enough to call him, "lowercase will") appropriately speaks poorly of your character. For shame, sir!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 9:05am

    Re:

    I think you just answered your own question. If the product is good enough, it should sell itself. If on the other hand they feel they need to spring for a celebrity to endorse it...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 9:17am

    Re:

    Ummm, yes, she's leaving her role because her contract ended. What's your point?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 10:50am

    Re:

    Microsoft's new products will enter the market like a wrecking ball.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re:

    This. Personally, if a product (any product) has a celebrity endorsement, I just assume the product is crap. Same for anything that has an enormous marketing effort behind it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 4:38pm

    That girl is on fire!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re:

    For the first time, most consumers would pay more for a product that doesn't twerk.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This