CES Diary: Lady Gaga shows celebrities how to do a gadget endorsement

11 Jan 2011


The central hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where CES takes place, is the size of several aircraft hangars, and with major players like Samsung and Sony renting out much of the floorspace, it can be hard for many companies to catch the attention of industry execs and journalists.

Not for Polaroid though: its comparatively small stand was almost crushed by the thousands of eager folk waiting for a chance to see pop star and impresario Lady Gaga. She took the stage to unveil a new line up of Polaroid gadgets: however, Gaga broke the mould again by not merely lending her name to them, or turning up for a quick photo opp and a cheque. Why can't all gadget celebrity tie ins be so benevolent?

Polaroid Grey unveiled by Lady Gaga.jpg

So often, it seems like celebrity backed gadgets seem like quick fragrance cash ins. Did Dr Dre really design his Beats headphones for Monster? What does "design" mean? Did he doodle some ideas down on the back of a napkin over a business lunch? Did he decide how the wiring was going to fit? We can guess which answer was closer to the truth, but with Lady Gaga's Polaroid range, it's not quite so clear.

Lady Gaga is billed as Polaroid's Creative Director, and it's quite clear her influence shaped the new line of snappers from the famous, long troubled company. While the new "grey" Polaroid camera lacks any Monster Ball trademarks, the Polaroid camera inside a pair of sunglasses could only come from someone as outlandish as she. And only Lady Gaga would be willing to carry a not especially small Bluetooth Polaroid printer around in her handbag.

Not only that, but for once, Lady Gaga didn't feel the need to upstage the products. There was no meat dress. OK, she was wearing sunglasses indoors still, but as Gaga outfits go, it was pretty demure.

50Cent Sleek Audio headphones.jpg

By contrast, look at the new Sleek Audio wireless headphones "by 50 Cent". The rapper took a stake in the company for this collaboration to happen, but I strolled past Sleek's booth at CES this morning and he wasn't anywhere to be seen. And nor were there any plans for him to drop by.

And as for Ludacris and his garish new yellow headphones for Signeo, announced this week? He couldn't even be bothered to provide a quote for the accompanying press release.

So well done Gaga for doing things differently. Next time we see a new celebrity gadget, we'd like more assurance they actually had a hand in making it. The - and only then - might we even begin to consider buying it over something with good reviews instead.

CES Diary by James Holland