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After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, RadioShack is back, and Nick Cannon is at the helm. The electronics store announced Tuesday that the actor and musician will assume the role of RadioShack's new chief creative officer.
"Nick Cannon is one of today's most successful personalities in the entertainment industry and the picture of a RadioShack success story," said Michael Tatelman, RadioShack's chief marketing officer in a statement. "With Cannon's innate, innovative drive and authentic connection to RadioShack, he is the perfect person to join our team."
While this move may seem like a smart idea for the retailer, partnerships between celebrities and tech companies have historically been rocky.
Here's a look at a number of celebrities who may have been cast as the company's hottest creative director, but could not live up to the part.
— By Krysia Lenzo
Posted 4 Dec. 2015
BlackBerry presented Keys with the title of global creative director in January 2013 at a BlackBerry 10 launch party. Though she called herself an "iPhone junky" only one year prior to the announcement, the award-winning singer-songwriter noted that she was looking forward to working closely with app developers to enhance the BlackBerry 10 platform.
"We are excited she will be bringing to us her enormous capabilities, as well as a vast network of relationships in the entertainment, social media and business communities, to help shape our brand and grow our business," said Thorsten Heins, BlackBerry's president and CEO at the time.
Despite Keys' efforts to shape the new product, BlackBerry 10 phone sales did not live up to expectations, forcing the company to take a $1 billion writedown on unsold devices and lay off about 40 percent of its workforce. Heins' tenure as BlackBerry CEO also came to an end due in part to disappointing sales. Facing bigger problems, the smartphone maker decided not to renew Keys' one-year contract.
The pop star may have sold more than 10 million albums in the U.S. during her career, but Lady Gaga's appeal was not big enough to secure a long-term contract with Polaroid. At the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Gaga announced her multi-year strategic partnership with Polaroid as the creative director for the company's "Grey Label" line of specialty imaging products, which included an instant mobile printer and sunglasses that could take and display pictures.
"The Haus of Gaga has been developing prototypes in the vein of fashion/technology/photography innovation — blending the iconic history of Polaroid and instant film with the digital era — and we are excited to collaborate on these ventures with the Polaroid brand," said Gaga. "Lifestyle, music, art, fashion: I am so excited to extend myself behind the scenes as a designer, and to as my father puts it — finally, have a real job."
However, Gaga's real job was short-lived, and she parted ways with Polaroid a few years later without any clear explanation.
"Polaroid is really not working with [Lady Gaga] any longer," said Melissa Hoistion, an account supervisor at R&J Public Relations, the PR firm for Polaroid, to PRWeek. "Everyone has gone their separate ways."
One of the standard rules of procedure when becoming a creative director or a glorified spokesperson for a company is that you cannot be seen with a competitor's product. Unfortunately, Jessica Alba was caught in the act. Alba was hired as Microsoft's creative director to promote their new Windows Phone 8 in 2012.
Though Alba claimed she "loved" the camera on her Windows phone, she did not love it enough. At a New York Fashion Week event, Alba was supposedly seen tweeting a picture from an iPhone a few months after her contract with Microsoft ended. Still, Alba spoke highly of the Windows phones and provided them with some much-needed hype. "A lot of my mom friends are really into the screen size, and they really love that all of the tiles are completely customized to me," said Alba about her Windows phone.
Based on her affinity for Japanese culture, Gwen Stefani helped create a custom-designed Harajuku Lovers Photosmart digital camera for HP in 2005. The camera, which was styled in turquoise with white and maroon accents, featured Japanese characters and hearts. For the fashion icon and singer, launching a stylish piece of technology seemed like a natural fit, given her expertise.
"A camera is clearly a modern-day accessory, so I thought, 'Why not design a unique, stylish version of it?' So we added it to the line, and it's super-kawaii ('super-cute' in Japanese)," said Stefani.
She even prominently displayed the camera in her No. 1 music video "Hollaback Girl." There was a significant amount of promotion for the cameras, but they did not result in a huge moneymaker for HP since there were only 3,000 limited-edition cameras produced.
Bud Light is not necessarily considered the most elite brand of beer. However, that did not stop Justin Timberlake from partnering with Bud Light Platinum in a commercial where he performs his hit single, "Suit and Tie." Timberlake's ad, called "Platinum Nights," debuted during the 55th Annual Grammy Awards shortly after he was named creative director for the brand in 2013. As part of the deal, Timberlake was tasked with providing "creative, musical and cultural curation" for Bud Light Platinum.
"Bud Light Platinum brings a refined, discerning aesthetic to beer that plays well with what I'm doing," said Timberlake in a statement. "I'm looking forward to not only being a part of the creative process, but in bringing other talented musicians to the forefront, as well."
If anyone could help Bud Light Platinum gain a following, it would be the pop star. But even he could not prevent slowing sales. Instead, Timberlake decided to join forces with Beam to market its new super-premium Sauza 901 tequila a year later.