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明星创意总监之弊

JP Mangalindan 2013年02月05日

黑莓眼下无疑是各界关注的焦点,但并不完全是因为它最新款的手机。Z10的发布会上,吸引人们眼球的除了黑莓志在重塑辉煌的救命稻草,还有一位格莱美得主,流行歌手艾丽西亚•凯斯。她将担任黑莓最新一任全球创意总监。不过,这样的明星高管对一家深陷困境的公司来说可能并不是什么好事。

    这一周是黑莓(BlackBerry)周。新的操作系统,新的手机,黑莓甚至可能借此机会扭转局面。然而,公司最令人惊讶的怪诞之举则是周三盛大的发布会上艾丽西亚•凯斯的亮相。这位曾获得过格莱美奖(Grammy)的流行歌手前来的目的并不只是为了给新设备的潮流因素站台。如今,她在这家深陷困境的公司担任着全球创意总监的职务。

    常人的反应大多可能是“搞什么名堂?”实际上,这类结合跟Lady Gaga加盟宝丽莱(Polaroid)或杰西卡•阿尔巴入主Windows Phone手机有着异曲同工之妙。这里并没有冒犯凯斯的意思,她显然是一个非常有才华的人。但是,由于这一具有腐蚀性的趋势会让公司分心,因此技术公司必须叫停。

    “深受技术吸引”的凯斯表示,她将与应用开发人员、内容创建人员和公司其他领域的人员进行合作。她也将在巡演中带上她那全新的全触屏黑莓Z10手机——这是一个大的逆转,因为她在去年曾公开表达过对苹果(Apple)iPhone手机的钟爱。

    不过她也有可能为黑莓公司贡献一些新的理念。然而,就像《财富》杂志(Fortune)最近采访的首席执行官托斯滕•海因斯所认为的那样,这种合作会为这家摇摇欲坠的公司带来可信度,而就在该公司发布所有新闻的同一天,它的股价下跌了12%。(具有讽刺意味的是,就在6、7年前,黑莓在spades中也有过同样的遭遇。)凯斯也认为,她的参与将在某种程度上吸引更多的女性用户。凯斯向《今日美国》(USA Today)透露:“每当我想到黑莓手机,我就会联想到一个以男性为主的用户群。但是在意识到(女性)人口结构的增长和变化之后,我们有必要对这一领域给予关注。”

    技术公司聘请明星担任创意总监并不是什么新鲜事。理论上,这些明星比代言人更为卖力。因为代言人貌似只是走上台,推出一款他们可能从未用过的产品,然后走下台(怀里可能揣着一张支票)。2010年,宝丽莱聘请Lady Gaga来为自己产品线造势。当时那次合作的第一款产品是一款怪异的、带有两个液晶显示屏的太阳镜相机。《财富》今年早些时候介绍过的歌手Will.i.am与芯片制造商英特尔(Intel)结成了类似的联盟。英特尔聘请这位饶舌歌手来预测消费者在未来几十年中的消费趋势。

    The week belonged to BlackBerry. New operating system, new phones, maybe even a shot at turning things around. But perhaps the most surprising twist at the company's big Wednesday launch was the appearance by Alicia Keys. The Grammy award-winning pop star wasn't there to simply vouch for the trendiness of the new devices. She is now the struggling company's global creative director.

    The appropriate response is probably 'WTF.' Actually, it's a match that makes about as much sense as, say, Lady Gaga teaming up with Polaroid or Jessica Alba hawking Windows Phone. With no offense to Keys, who is clearly an incredibly talented person, this corrosive trend is a distraction that technology companies have to put a stop to.

    Keys, who is "fascinated by technology," said she'll work with app developers, content creators, and other areas of the company. She's also taking her new keyboard-free BlackBerry Z10 on tour—a big reversal, given her professed love for Apple (AAPL) iPhone last year.

    It's possible she will drum up some refreshing ideas for BlackBerry. But its much more likely CEO Thorsten Heins, who Fortune recently spoke to, sees the partnership as a way to lend credibility to the flailing company, which saw its stock drop 12% the same day it unleashed all its news. (Ironic, given that just six or seven years ago, Blackberry had that in spades.) Keys also sees her presence as a way to pull in more women. "When I think of BlackBerry I think of a more male-dominated space. But knowing how much the (female) demographic is growing and moving, there needs to be that attention there," Keys told USAToday.

    A tech company hiring a celebrity as their creative director is nothing new. In theory, they're more involved than spokespeople, who seem to stroll onstage to plug a product they've probably never used and walk off (possibly with a check). Polaroid hired Lady Gaga to spice up its line in 2010. The first product from the collaboration was an outré pair of camera sunglasses with two built-in LCD displays. Will.i.am, profiled by Fortune earlier this year, performs a similar role for chipmaker Intel (INTC). The rapper is tasked with thinking about how consumers will spend their dollars in the decades to come.

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