Dumb Trends: Tech Companies Hiring Pop Stars As 'Creative Directors'

from the is-intel-the-new-polaroid dept

Last year, at Midem, one of the keynote interviews was with Jeffrey Hayzlett, who at the time was the Chief Marketing Officer for Kodak. Towards the end of the talk, someone in the audience asked Hayzlett if he could explain the thinking behind the hiring of Lady Gaga to be "creative director." Hayzlett smiled and responded along the lines of "Well, actually, that wasn't Kodak, but our competitor, and just the fact that you're confused about that is pretty much all I have to say about the wisdom of that decision." Of course, it was Polaroid who had made that "hire." At CES a few weeks back, one year after this announced "hiring," Lady Gaga debuted the results of her "job" at Polaroid to mostly unimpressed reviews.

Meanwhile, over at the Intel booth, I saw Will.i.am (and an entourage of folks) walking around and checking out the displays. Knowing that folks like Lady Gaga and Will.i.am don't just show up at CES for fun, I just assumed that he had some sort of endorsement deal with Intel. Now, comes the news that he's signed a similar "director of creative innovation" deal with Intel.

Now, to be clear, various reports claim that Lady Gaga was and has been actually involved in product design efforts. And, as an endorsement deal, there's something quite nice about that aspect to it. After all, lots of celebrities sign endorsement deals for products they don't even use or care about, let alone have at least some say in designing. But, does having a celebrity, who doesn't actually have any experience or knowledge about the specific business you're in, as a "creative director" really make sense? The Polaroid products announced by Lady Gaga at CES seemed sort of pointless -- sunglasses that take photos, a paperback book sized "portable printer" for photos (I've had a smaller portable printer in my bag for years, and only recently stopped carrying it around when I realized I never use it any more).

On top of that, the idea that these celebrities have "jobs" as "creative directors" is just silly. They're not creative directors at all, and it's actually something of an insult to people who actually do have jobs as creative directors. They're celebrity endorsers who are also advising on product ideas -- at best. I like the idea of celebrities actually being more involved with the products they endorse, but pretending they have a real "job" at these companies really just insults the intelligence of people.

Oh, and, did anyone notice that, in the photo of Will.i.am showing off his "Intel badge," it looks like he's wearing the "Polaroid sunglasses" that Gaga revealed at CES? Maybe they have some sort of "mutual celebrity fake creative director appreciation society" thing going on between them.


"But do HIS glasses take pics and have screens built in...?" -- caption and photoshop thanks to Notcot

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 2011 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re:

    Mike is all for innovation. Anything is innovation. He says that patents and copyright stop innovation, that innovation is any even marginal small improvment. Clearly, putting Lady Gaga's name on a bunch of recycled ideas is exactly what innovation is all about. Glasses with a camera? Oh my, what a great innovation.

    Get the label right, and it's innovative as all get out.

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