90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Celebrities Head For The Board Room

Hip hop artist will.i.am is pictured holding Intel's Ultrabook. He has a new gig as director of creative innovation at Intel. (intel.com)

Hip hop artist will.i.am is pictured holding Intel’s Ultrabook. He has a new gig as director of creative innovation at Intel. (intel.com)

Hip hop artist will.i.am has a new gig as director of creative innovation at Intel.

Alicia Keys is creative director for BlackBerry.

And Justin Timberlake got a job as creative and musical curator for Bud Light Platinum.

It seems celebrities are no longer happy to just film a commercial for companies, and collect their paychecks. Nowadays, they want to help design the brand.

Here & Now media analyst John Carroll says this is an example of the convergence of marketing and content.

Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research in Motion, introduces Alicia Keys as the Global Creative director of BlackBerry, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 in New York. (Mark Lennihan/AP)

Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research in Motion, introduces Alicia Keys as the Global Creative director of BlackBerry, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 in New York. (Mark Lennihan/AP)

“Coke, Pepsi, Starbucks – they’re not just products – they’re lifestyle and culture brands,” Carroll said. “They’re building celebrities into the DNA of their content.”

Case in point, both will.i.am and Alicia Keys are producing songs and videos during their tours that directly tie into the companies’ products.

Will.i.am is planning to produce a song in each city he visits during a worldwide tour, using his Intel-powered laptop.

And Keys is asking fans to send her photos from their BlackBerries that she’ll include in upcoming videos.

But sometimes these creative matches can backfire. Keys has been criticized for tweeting from her iPhone, while publicly promoting BlackBerry.

And when Justin Timberlake was tapped for Bud Light Platinum, pictures surfaced of him drinking Coors Light. Bud Light Platinum smartly responded on Twitter: “Justin may have dated other beers but he’s married to Platinum.”

South African “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius, provides another cautionary tale. When he was arrested and charged in the killing of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, Nike was forced to drop him from their brand.

Despite the downsides, Carroll predicts the trend of bringing celebrity endorsers into the board room is here to stay.

“This is the way that all content is moving forward,” Carroll said.

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.jerroldrichards.com/ Jerrold Richards

    One could toss off the term, “corporate whore,” and leave it it that. But hey, the Medicis, big-time gangsters of their day, hired artists. Bach wrote his great music for the gangsters of his day. And so on through the centuries. The challenge for the artist, I think, is to create lasting art in such an environment.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

July 29 12 Comments

U.S. ‘Border Crisis’ In A Global Context

Bill Frelick of Human Rights Watch says what the U.S. is seeing is dwarfed by the massive flow of refugees into other countries, such as Italy.

July 29 4 Comments

Iraq War Vet Returns To A Broken Country

Roy Scranton says what he found in Baghdad "shows the evidence of the truth of what we'd actually done."

July 28 5 Comments

Rob Reiner Reflects On Making Movies From ‘And So It Goes’ To ‘Princess Bride’

The actor and director has been making people laugh for decades.

July 28 4 Comments

New HBO Documentary ‘Love Child’ Looks At Gaming Addiction

"Love Child" tells the story of a South Korean couple whose baby starved to death while they cared for a virtual child.