Do Celebrities And Startups Mix?

from the where's-william-shatner? dept

Back during the first dot com boom, you may recall that various startups started to suddenly find "celebrity" front men, from Whoopi Goldberg touting "Flooz" to William Shatner pitching Priceline. This time around, it appears that the various Hollywood celebrities are perhaps a bit more involved in various web startups, but does it matter beyond getting an initial burst of press? Liz Gannes, over at GigaOm, has a good look at the rise of "celebrity" startup founders, noting that while there are a bunch of Hollywood folks jumping in and starting web companies, not many of them have done all that well (at best, a few are muddling along). Apparently, unlike Hollywood, having a big name star isn't all that's needed to make something a success. It also needs a plan that works.
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Filed Under: celebrities, founders, silicon valley, startups


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  1. identicon
    Karl, 11 Sep 2008 @ 2:37pm

    "Having a big name star isn't all that's needed to make something a success. It also needs a plan that works."

    That's just crazy talk.

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

  2. identicon
    tm, 11 Sep 2008 @ 2:47pm

    Jessica Simpson and beer

    I'm thinking this is a local thing, but here in Dallas, there was hype recently that Jessica Simpson jumped into a partnership with a local beer company. They existed already, but sounded like they were struggling. I think she got some ownership in the company for using her for marketing.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2008 @ 2:52pm

    Maybe

    Maybe they just don't have the right stars. I mean, look at Sheeple Magazine. Doesn't that sell well, filled from cover to cover with photos of the beautiful people, and column after column of the mind-numbingly empty quotes that spew from the mouths of the Hollywood glitterati? There are some people who just live for the next words of wisdom to come from Angelina Jolie, or Madonna, or some other celebrity type.

    Personally, when I see a "celebrity" in one of those ads, I figure it's because the celeb has fallen on hard times, and will do anything for a buck. Gotta pay for that Bentley and the $12 million, 8 bedroom, 14-1/2 bath home.

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

  4. identicon
    Bobby J., 11 Sep 2008 @ 3:03pm

    Web Savvy Stars Might Work

    It's different than the first go-around of the 1.0 Web. The content expertise that a qualified star brings could potentially be huge. That's because the content on the internet, namely web video, is starting to look more and more like TV. So we're not talking about breakthrough technology as much anymore (something I bet virtually no Hollywood celebrity has a clue about) but we ARE talking about people who have had monetary and sometimes even creative success in "traditional media" like film & TV. Injecting that creative ability into startups might actually work sooner or later. And if it is web-video or content based, basically, they're just trying to create a solid BRAND that happens to make engaging web content. Celebs could help that.

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

  5. identicon
    TriZz, 11 Sep 2008 @ 3:41pm

    Big name backings...?

    "Apparently, unlike Hollywood, having a big name star isn't all that's needed to make something a success."

    I think it's a different "big name star" in the world of technology. Think Steve Jobs...what's Apple gonna be like when he retires/or dies given the looks of him lately.

    I wouldn't trust Matthew McConaughey to build me a PC or to handle the security in my banking practices.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2008 @ 6:08pm

    haha

    Celebs are not known for their financial proclivity.

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

  7. icon
    John (profile), 12 Sep 2008 @ 12:47pm

    More crazy talk

    ""Having a big name star isn't all that's needed to make something a success. It also needs a plan that works."
    That's just crazy talk."

    I agree. Web sites also need good search engine optimization, they need to get eyeballs and impressions, and they need to make sure their page rank is where it should be.

    Web companies with a business plan and which sell actual products? Now that's crazy talk!

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


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