I’ve watched the “celebrity endorsement” game like most people – vaguely registering LeBron James shilling for Microsoft, or Shakira posing in pink with Lumix Cameras. But what’s piqued my interest lately is a transition: Celebrities are no longer just associating with tech products. They’re helping to design them.
With Dr. Dre serving as Co-Founder of the hugely popular Beats by Dre, and multi-hyphenate Alicia Keys becoming “singer-songwriter-Creative Director at Blackberry Global,” it’s clear that celebrity endorsements are being taken a step past the red carpet and into the design lab.
In time we’ll have an answer to the big question:
Does Design + Celebrity = Innovation?
For now we’ll have to wonder if innovation or marketing is the end-game. Is an A-list “chief innovator” a new way for the marketing department to impress consumers weary of celebrity endorsements that seem bought-and-paid-for? Or will having a superstar intimately involved in design truly shake up the innovation process?
I’ll be watching to see how this trends plays out. Until then, here’s a look back at the evolution of celebrity influence in the tech world, from endorsement to design.
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LA-based Joel Delman is creative director for Product Development Technologies (PDT). He received his Master of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute, his JD from Harvard Law School and his bachelor’s in economics from New York University. Follow PDT on Twitter.