Why am I starting to get the impression that if you are a soft drink, beer, or mobile phone manufacturer, there is now some uber-imperative that you have to shell out millions and millions of dollars to get a Pop/Country/Rap Star, SI Swimsuit Cover Girl, or ex-Jersey Shore cast member to sign on as your “Brand Ambassador,” “Creative Director,” “Grand Poobah,” or whatever you think will pull the chain of the great unwashed?As fellow Business Insider writer Laura Stampler pointed out last week, Justin Timberlake has just been appointed Creative Director of Bud Light Platinum. What responsibilities this will entail, I have no idea, although he will undoubtedly be handsomely rewarded.
Then I read an Anheuser-Busch press release explaining that Mr. Timberlake will provide “creative, musical and cultural creation.” As he sipped a glass of the boringly tasteless libation he is now pimping, Mr. Timberlake offered that, “Bud Light Platinum brings a refined, discerning aesthetic to beer that plays well with what I’m doing.”
Ah, yes indeed, that’s obviously worth a few million dollars. Unfortunately, there appears to be no word yet from the current Creative Director for Bud Light, “Pitbull,” regarding his aesthetic curation activities.
In the last few weeks we’ve seen deals signed between Alicia Keys and Blackberry, Taylor Swift and Diet Coke—who have also signed kilt wearing fashion designer, Marc Jacobs, obviously in an effort to take over the Scottish market. And breaking the booze, mobile phone pattern, we recently had will-i-am being hired as the “Director of Creative Innovation” for chip company Intel. At the press conference announcing this momentous occasion, Mr. i-am declared, “I am not a race car driver, but the content I create races round the Internet. It’s racing through you right now.” Profound indeed! No doubt we can look forward to “will-i-am-inside.”
However, in the Ka-ching curation stakes, everyone is running a poor second behind Beyonce with her $50 MILLION deal with Pepsi. Too bad she wasn’t around back in the early 1980s when Steve Jobs asked the famous question of John Sculley, when he was CMO of Pepsi and Steve was trying to convince him to join Apple: “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”
Unfortunately, besides his incessant championing of the “Newton,” which was about 20 years ahead of its time, Sculley couldn’t hold a tune, and his legs came nowhere close to Beyoncé. Absolute proof there’s more money in sugar water than nerdy technology.
George Parker has spent 40 years on Madison Avenue. He’s won Lions, CLIOs, EFFIES, and the David Ogilvy Award. His blog is adscam.typepad.com, which is required reading for those looking for a gnarly view of the world’s second oldest profession.” His latest book, “Confessions of a Mad Man,” makes the TV show “Mad Men” look like “Sesame Street.”
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