Celebrities are taking endorsement deals to a whole new level by becoming more than a brand's pretty face, but part of its management team as well.
Recent history, however, suggests that these deals are more of an exercise in vanity than a boost to the bottom line.
"This is a relatively new thing," said Margaret Campbell, a marketing professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who led a study on the downside of celebrity endorsements. "Companies that do this are striving to increase their creativity or innovation credibility."
This week, Nick Cannon became the latest celebrity to move into the C-suite. The host of "America's Got Talent" landed a gig at RadioShack as its chief creative officer, effective immediately. Cannon will work to help develop exclusive products with the beleaguered electronic retailer, which earlier this year was sold to hedge fund Standard General after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. ("America's Got Talent" is broadcast by CNBC-parent NBC Universal.)
The goal, as RadioShack phrased it in a statement, is to "transform the retailer into the must-visit electronics destination."
"Nick actually came to us," Michael Tatelman, RadioShack's chief marketing officer, told CNBC in a telephone interview. He said Cannon met with company executives a few months ago and delivered a presentation that won over executives.
"He's more than 'America's Got Talent,' " he added.