5 celebrity tech endorsements that flopped

Celebrity tech endorsements are always an interesting marketing move as a company tries to slap an instantly recognizable face to their brand name. We have seen this happen time and time again, and while it’s hard to measure the success of these marketing efforts, brands continue to pursue the celebrities with their checkbooks.

Lenovo recently hopped on this bandwagon by signing up Ashton Kutcher to help sell their new Yoga tablet, but Lenovo is not alone. It seems like nearly all tech companies have asked a celebrity to endorse a product (and likely were paid with a check with many zeroes on it) but not all endorsements end well. Sometimes the celebrity gets caught up in a scandal, or does something stupid in the face of the public and has their name tarnished, and other times they get caught using a competitors product.

In a quick look-back at some of the more awkward celebrity endorsements, we have compiled a list of 5 endorsements that seemed to miss the mark.

5. Lady Gaga becomes Polaroid’s ‘Creative Director’ but doesn't launch most anticipated product

When launching new products, why not grab one of the hottest names in music? That’s what Polaroid decided to do when it linked up with Lady Gaga back in 2011 to launch a wireless mobile printer and glasses that can take a photo.

Lady Gaga Polaroid Sunglasses

Polaroid went as far to name her the ‘creative director’ for the company, but considering that the ‘grey label’ sunglasses, that were most anticipated product from the mashup, never made it to the market, her authority at the company must have been limited.

For that matter, Lady Gaga's time with Polaroid is nothing more than a glamour shot at trying to attract Gaga’s massive fan base to the Polaroid brand. The endorsement did not appear to have had a large impact on its sales and the one product Gaga likely worked on at Polaroid, appears to have been canned which makes this endorsement, a bit embarrassing.

4. Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates commercials that were supposed to be confusing

Back in 2008, Microsoft linked up with Jerry Seinfeld to create a series of commercials. The commercials featured Gates and Seinfeld in a variety of clips that were generally quite odd. Microsoft went on to say that the clips were intended to be a bit confusing so that consumers would pay more attention to other promotions (seriously, we couldn't make this stuff up even if we tried).

It’s one thing to team up with a celebrity to help sell a product but the Gates/Seinfeld commercials likely did little to help consumer perception of Microsoft. Microsoft later pulled the commercials and replaced them with the "Windows 7 was my idea" advertisements. Unfortunately for Microsoft, this won’t be their biggest flop on the list, as they have had more recent troubles with using celebrities to help sell their products.

3.  Kevin Bacon launches Logitech Revue with Google TV to a resounding thud

Remember Google TV? The product that Google thought would change how we watch TV and would finally present a UI that would work from your couch flopped, hard. On the fail-boat that was Google TV was Logitech who singed up Kevin Bacon to help sell the set-top box that ultimately was canceled by the company.

Bacon was unable to help move units off of retail shelves and even the CEO of Logitech called the Revue a big mistake.

In reality, it didn’t matter what celebrity endorsed Google TV. The product was a flop for Google, a massive expenditure for Logitech and for Bacon? Well, it goes to show a celebrity can’t help to sell a bad product.

2. Alicia Keys tweets from an iPhone but says she uses a Blackberry

Blackberry, the company that everyone has written-off and who is looking for someone to buy them so they don’t go bankrupt, recently paired up with Alicia Keys.

The company let Keys become a ‘Creative Director’ at the company likely in an attempt to assign a celebrity to the Blackberry brand. While we do not know if Keys has any background in UI or UX or even the marketing of smartphones, it doesn’t really matter as she recently sent a tweet using her iPhone

Oops, you would think that Keys would be expected to use a Blackberry, seeing as the company was paying her a modest sum of money to be the face of the company, but that’s not the case. Although, it doesn’t really matter, as Blackberry has more issues to worry about instead of Keys using an iPhone.

Yes, we do know that Keys said she was 'hacked' and that's why a tweet went out from an iPhone on her account. But if you were to hack a celebrities Twitter account and all you intended to do was make one Tweet from an iPhone, it seems like a waste of time.

1. Jessica Alba didn’t really love her Windows Phone

Image Credit: Getty Images/Stephen Lovekin

Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform got off to a slow start, and to help the company move more units they signed up Jessica Alba to help sell the devices. While the company didn’t go as far as Polaroid and Blackberry and assign Alba a ‘role’ within the company, they did likely splash some cash in her direction to get her face next to a Windows Phone.

Alba made an appearance on stage next to Joe Belfiore but like the Blackberry deal with Keys, Alba was recently spotted with her iPhone, and even though her contract with Microsoft reportedly ended in May, it shows she has dumped her Windows Phone for an iPhone. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for your product if your spokesperson dumps your device as soon as the contract expires.

Bonus. Oprah loves her Surface so much she tweets it from her iPad

While not an official endorsement, Oprah said last year that she loved the Surface so much, she was going to give them to her staff. Well, she apparently loves the Surface so much that she tweeted it from her iPad.

Microsoft said that Oprah’s endorsement of the Surface was not a paid advertisement and that she did it on her own accord, so it’s not technically a failed endorsement but still makes for an odd product backing from the celebrity.

Celebrity endorsements are always a risky bet for any company, as you never know what the individual might do when the cameras turn off. Sometimes, they may actually enjoy the product but the list above proves that this is not always the case.

While we wait to see if Ashton Kutcher is spied using a tablet besides Lenovo’s new Yoga, it would not surprise us to see him eventually use a Surface or an iPad down the road.

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and yeah, now Microsoft 'hire' the 'tech expert' like Paul Thurrott and others to do the shillings on their respective sites.


Neowin now supports Tapatalk on our community forums! Download the app to your smartphone and search Neowin

Well, somebody had to do it

Having Neowin Apps are all good but I am so used with my Explorer. I use it on my WP once in a while.

Dushmany said,

Neowin now supports Tapatalk on our community forums! Download the app to your smartphone and search Neowin

Well, somebody had to do it

it's common sense..tech endorsement should never use celebrity because they know nothing about the product. You need to use people who can truly understand your product or people who work on it and not simply hired a famous people to hope it will increase awareness. If your product is really a masterpiece then you shouldn't need a celebrity to promote it.

The celebrity marketing does two things. First it gets people to pay attention if they see a personality they like, and it attaches a familiar face to the product. Even though you don't know this person at all, a familiar face creates a feeling a trust even if you don't think about rationally.

Pretty much how I see "celebrity" endorsements. ANYTIME I see someone hawking something, I don't run out and buy it like the drone sheep do with most things. Unless I like it, and it does what I want, I don't buy it. Hype probably sells more junk than anything. "Celebrity" endorsed just means the company paid a ton of cash to some ACTOR to tell them it's the best thing since sliced bread.

Blame the companies really. A large sum of money can't make you like a Surface or other products; your opinion is still your opinion. Companies just want to BS people into thinking their favorite actor uses X products or Y services.

Cyborg_X said,
Does anyone think celebrity endorsement is real? I mean.. it's a celebrity... 100% BS 100% of the time.

Most of the time I will make a mental note to be sure NOT to buy a product that is endorsed by some actor/personality, for just the reason you pointed out.

I figure if a company has that little skill in marketing their crap, the crap can't be any good and even if it is, I'm not contributing to some morons income that knows nothing about the product!

This deal with Lenovo and Kutcher, or ANY deal with him, is one of the dumbest ever. I totally DESPISE that imbecile, for one and never really liked Lenovo either, so that one's a no brainer for me!

Dushmany said,
It's all about timing and the way it's handled, I Love my George Foreman Grill

Ah the George Foreman Grill, the grill that was a HUGE flop until he bought a stake in the company and renamed it to his own name

neufuse said,

Ah the George Foreman Grill, the grill that was a HUGE flop until he bought a stake in the company and renamed it to his own name

Don't know how that was a huge flop as it's still selling?