Celebrity Tech Geek Chic

Will.I.Am tech chic | Chute Gerdeman - award-winning retail design and branding.

Celebrity Tech Geek Chic

Celebrity Tech Geek Chic 800 591 Chute Gerdeman

Intel just announced that Will.i.am, esteemed music producer and Black Eyed Peas front man, is joining the company as Director of Creative Innovation. “It’s imperative that Intel and our innovations are kept in front of the global youth culture that embraces new devices and new forms of communication and entertainment,” said Deborah Conrad, Intel Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. The partnership blends entertainment and technology, creating “the ultimate experience.” While the announcement is newsworthy in and of itself, there’s a bigger story here. Remember when Polaroid announced Lady Gaga as Creative Director of Specialty Product last year?

Image via Ladygaga.com. Polaroid logo via Polaroid.com.

While the concept of brands leveraging celebrity partnerships to gain greater relevance with a younger audience is nothing new, this marketing strategy goes beyond the usual commercial endorsement. It’s not about just selling the product using today’s latest pop culture flavor (remember Jay-Z and SJP for HP?) but re-positioning a technical corporate brand to young people who may not identify with them. Is it the 2011 version of the “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile” campaign?

This is a well-planned strategic move, seemingly placing the celebrity behind-the-scenes so they’re not just carrying the product—they’re behind it from ideation to fabrication. It remains to be seen how much Will.i.am will influence form or functionality, but now the celebrity has true “buy-in,” an emotional connection to the product that allows them to tout it as their own—not just because it will give them a paycheck.

While the idea of celebrities “participating” in the fashion world—as muses, directors, and “designers”—has been around for years, the integration of celebrities in the core of technology brands is a newer practice. It takes these brands from “geek chic” to just plain chic. In a world where you can be defined by which phone you’re carrying, why not associate that device with an A-list celeb? With innovative goliath Apple ruling the tablet market with the iPad, appointing Will.i.am to be the perceived brainpower behind tablets, smartphones, and other lifestyle-centric products seems like a good way to leverage some instant cool.

So who’s next? Surely there will be a third brand to follow suit—the question is which company and with which famous face?

Featured Images via Newsroom.Intel.com

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