There’s no doubt that celebrity endorsements can help sales. A study by Anita Elberse, conditionally accepted in March at the Journal of Advertising Research, showed how stock valuation for a company goes up by about a quarter of a point for celebrity endorsements. But today, a quarter of a point may not be enough of a boost. Celebrities are becoming much more than simple shills; companies would like us to believe that they’re as involved in the development and evolution of a product—and the technology behind it—as the designers themselves. Respected artists are using their business acumen to shape the technology we use everyday. Take Lady Gaga. She’s Polaroid’s highest-profile creative director ever.
“If you look at the consumer electronics marketplace, there’s a tremendous amount of convergence going on, where fashion, photography, consumer electronics, the Internet, video, photo content, social networking are all kind of changing the way we interact and capture and share pictures,” said Scott Hardy, president of Polaroid. “We felt that we needed to have someone who was on the cutting edge of all of those things.”
Lady Gaga joins Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am, who recently became Intel’s director of creative innovation, and Dr. Dre, who helped forge HP’s Beats technology, as one of the new breed of celebrity product pitchers. Here’s how today’s cele-geeks are re-defining product endorsements.