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[MADAME NOIRE] Brands Fall For The Hype: Celebrity Creative Directors Don’t Matter. Here’s Why

BlackBerry continues to spiral into the abyss of electronics past. Desperate to escape the Narnia of cassette tapes and floppy disks that exists in the back of our closets, the wireless devices company turned to one woman… Alicia Keys? News of the pop singer’s new gig as creative director of the company formerly know as RIM was met with head scratches and punchlines.

It’s not that we don’t want to see Alicia be great, despite her refusal to let “Girl on Fire” die. This announcement just doesn’t seem as special, or make as much sense, as the company’s press release would like us to believe.

Brands’ work with celebrities used to be simpler. They cut the check; the famous person holds their product and speaks their praises. Now brands don’t just want a campaign, they want to give the celeb an office too. Brand partnerships are all the rage. Celebs are getting titles business school graduates would kill for like “chief creative officer” and “chief innovator.”

How Did We Get Here?

Ad Age has an idea of why companies are so keen to jump on a trend that’s already feeling overdone:

Styling celebrities as ambassadors is an attempt to position the tie-up as more authentic at a time when consumers have become more cynical about endorsements. “There’s a greater authenticity that comes with having a celebrity influencing the business so that it’s not just a face on the brand. … Everyone knows what a brand endorsement is. You can pay a celebrity to say anything.

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