I’ve been watching these tech celebrity hookups for some time and there is little evidence they are actually successful. However there have been some high points. One was the Lenovo – Ashton Kutcher hook up and that one seemed to work because Kutcher had an interest in technology and had studied to be an engineer so there was some foundation under the effort. But, I think the core problems with doing this are two things: The celebrity is often pretty clueless about the related technology, and they drop back into being paid spokespeople pretty quickly.
This time Intel is taking a different path with Lady Gaga. It is collaborating with her not artificially on a product but effectively on an entertainment event. Intel is a critical part of her show at the Grammys.
Let’s talk about why I think this is a far better approach.
Using What They Know
It makes no sense to take a top entertainer and then try to turn them into something else they have no real interest or expertise in. But entertainers know how to entertain, and increasingly they are massive users of technology with an emphasis on creating wonder and excitement—both key to driving technology and product demand.
If the partnership is with what the entertainer does, rather than what the firm does, then the result has to be better because the firm is using the entertainer where the entertainer excels—not trying to make them into something they aren’t. More importantly, if the entertainer is popular their popularity is tied to their art—not tied to who they really are. At the end of the day an entertainer is just another person but that isn’t where their power is. It is in what they do, not who they are and—I think—Intel is finally showcasing the right way to hook up with an entertainer.
While a lot of entertainers use technology, few use it as aggressively or as massively as Lady Gaga. An incredibly talented artist (over the holidays I found myself enjoying her Barnes and Noble ad with Tony Bennett a lot) and a powerhouse on social media she is likely one of the better choices for an effort. Some of her efforts are actually great to watch even with the sound turned off. Incredibly high production values, and a creative mix of technology and art. She is a showcase of thinking outside the box in an industry known for thinking outside the box.
And the processing power she could consume creating on-stage magic should be pretty impressive as well—forming a foundation for the message that Intel wants to deliver. I think it is when the capability of the artist and the goals for the firm align that you’ll see the greatest potential realized from a collaboration like this.
How About Have Gaga Stage CES?
This first effort will be a performance backed by Intel technology at an entertainment event the Grammys. Now, traditionally, the Grammys pull far more interest on social media and in general than CES does and CES is the most powerful tech show in the US. But what if Intel now took this relationship the other way and had Gaga stage Intel’s already impressive keynote at CES? It is possible Intel could approach the Grammy level of interest for their own keynote and uplift CES in general to a completely new level. The potential power there could be world-beating and truly showcase the potential of using someone like Lady Gaga where they are most powerful.
Wrapping Up: How Did Intel Beat Sony?
One of the frustrating things about Sony is that it has this kind of potential in-house as both a movie and music producer. It doesn’t just build technology products. It actually creates amazing content but has never been able to tie the two together (though that may finally be changing). Intel, which really isn’t in the entertainment business, seems to get how this should be done and its partnership with Lady Gaga will—if executed as I expect—change how people do going forward (at least that is my hope). We’ll see how this goes, but Intel has the chance to truly redefine how artists and tech firms work together with the end result being incredibly powerful for both groups.
This may lead to a future of true partnerships where the entertainer and tech firm both work together to create magical experiences that are impossible today. We’ll see…