Celebrities and tech companies: together and disastrously scrambled
What do Alicia Keys, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, and Ashton Kutcher have in common? That all of them have been part of the management team of a technology company
The history of the technology sector, despite its youth, is full of unforgettable names: from Ada Lovelace to Jeff Bezos, through Steve Jobs, Richard Stallman or the winner of 15 Grammys Alicia Keys? The three-time Razzy nominee Ashton Kutcher?
The relationship between celebrities and technology would not have to exist, apart from the fact that the former are consumers and users of the latter and, on occasions, they even use their fame to advertise products with which they have nothing to do. And that’s okay: Actors aren’t required to be gut flora experts to advertise yogurts, either.
However, there have also been cases in which companies have gone a little further and the continent of the curriculum – that is, the celebrity who carries it – has prevailed more than its content. Other times the association made sense (or, at least, it could have), but the result left too much to be desired. These are some cases.
ASHTON KUTCHER MADE THE TABLET NOBODY NEEDED
In favor of Ashton Kutcher – and Lenovo – it must be said that he has been linked to the technology sector for a long time (he has invested in dozens of companies, among which there are some as successful as Skype or Airbnb). Against him – and against Lenovo – it must be said that he developed something that no one wanted: a tablet with a projector.
“In his new role as Lenovo Product Engineer, Kutcher will work with the company’s worldwide engineering teams to develop and promote the Yoga tablet line by providing input and decision-making regarding design, specifications, software and scenarios. of use, “the company explained on October 29, 2013 when announcing the agreement.
After a year of work, the fruit of an agreement whose economic conditions were never revealed (but which, according to Bloomberg, were around 10 million dollars), the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, a tablet with a 13-inch screen, projector and system. of sound with subwoofer that weighed about a kilo and started from 499 euros.
To develop the terminal, they looked at “how people use tablets and what they need for a better experience,” explained the actor at the time, although he did not say how they had come to the conclusion that what these products needed were projectors. “I think we have created the best tablet on the market.”
The device itself received generally positive reviews, as it did not perform poorly as a tablet. The problem is that almost all the reviews found the same big problem: the projector was disappointing and it was uncomfortable that it was placed on the side, two aspects that, in principle, are the responsibility of the product engineering team.
The following year Lenovo released the new version, Tab 3 Pro, without any mention of Kutcher and with the projector centered. Although the change was welcome, it was the last tablet from the company to incorporate a projector.
The company never announced the end of the collaboration with the actor, who was only mentioned again – as a technology entrepreneur, not as a product engineer for the company – at the launch of Moto Mods, the interchangeable cases and accessories of the Moto Z that include, among others, a projector.
ALICIA KEYS AND HER YEAR (SABBATH) IN BLACKBERRY
BlackBerry is an example of a company that lost practically everything for not being able to adapt to the new times. Mike Lazaridis, CEO of the company until 2012, is famous for refusing to allow his devices to have a camera or mp3 player when these technologies began to reach mobile telephony. In other words, the Canadian firm has a history of incomprehensible decisions. Alicia Keys is one of them.
On January 30, 2013 Lazaridis had already been replaced by Thorsten Heins as CEO of BlackBerry. And, although Apple and Google already dominated the sector with iOS and Android, there was still room for other operating systems, a third position for which Canadians struggled with Windows Phone.
It was necessary to give a blow of effect and the solution was to present its own platform, BlackBerry 10, and its new creative director: Alicia Keys. Her mission, “to lead a variety of business initiatives” aimed at improving the perception of the brand. In Keys’s own words, her goal was “to inspire creativity with this platform.”
Just one year later, on January 30, 2014, BlackBerry confirmed the end of the collaboration in a brief statement sent to the specialized media Crackberry. In it, he thanked the singer for her work on two projects, one of which had been launched at the same time as her presentation.
MICHAEL BAY’S SMOKE PUMP
The normal thing would be to think that, with 20 years of experience behind him, director Michael Bay would be used to speaking in public. Unfortunately, more for Samsung than for him, it was not like that and on January 6, 2014 he abandoned the CES presentation of the televisions of the company in which he was the protagonist exactly 59 seconds after starting it.
As Bay himself explained later on his blog, he got lost when he skipped the phrase of the company executive who accompanied him on the telepronter. This made the prompter himself lose himself and, terrified at the idea of counting the qualities of the product by heart, he left as he came.
Although the director apologized to him for Samsung televisions and created “a special Transformers 4 curved-screen experience,” he did not engage with the company’s products again.
I LOVE YOU BUT AS A FRIEND
That a famous tweet the ‘love’ he feels for a company’s product from the equivalent device of his greatest rival is a constant in the sector: the then creative director of BlackBerry Alicia Keys (she claimed to have been the victim of a hack), Gal Gadot (who said it was a mistake by someone from his team), Adam Levine (after proposing a symbolic burning of iPhones in the face of the superiority of the Galaxy S4), Ellen Degeneres (after his famous selfie at the Oscars) or the Spanish Íker Casillas and David Ferrer.
It is so common that it even happened to the Samsung account. But possibly the most notorious case, due to her relevance, was that of Oprah Winfrey, who assured that she loved Microsoft’s Surface and that she had already bought 12 of it as Christmas gifts from her iPad. She maybe she hadn’t received any of the 13 yet.
Another who did something similar was the aforementioned Ashton Kutcher. His passion for Apple is known – he played Steve Jobs in the Jobs biopic – but his connection with the mobile phone sector came from Lenovo after the company’s purchase of Motorola. And perhaps to show his commitment, he changed his profile photo on Facebook, in which he appeared with an iPhone, for another with a Motorola mobile. The only problem is that it was the exact same photo with the phone changed with Photoshop.
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