What does that mean? They say he'll help develop ad campaigns and advise the company on the visual representation of the brand. His first project is to work with director Joseph Kahn on a series of TV ads shot on the Las Vegas strip that will promote the company's 2012 product line. He's apparently working with Callaway's agency, Factory Design Labs on the campaign. Having already participated in pre-production, Timberlake is also set to participate in the post-production for the creative, which hits TV next year. We can hear the collective booing and hissing from agencies and production companies all over adland now: "Great, one more ego to stroke."
Timberlake is no stranger to pet projects. He has started a clothing line, a BBQ restaurant and even a booze brand. Strangely, the Callaway announcement coincides with controversy swirling around his marketing prowess. TMZ posted a video in which Timberlake's business partner, who is also the brother of the celeb's sometime girlfriend Jessica Biel, slams Timberlake's talent for knowing how to market 901 Silver Tequila. "Sales dropped drastically from last year. … We're dying on the motherfucking vine here," he says in the video. (Subsequent remarks made by Timberlake and others claim that the video was made as a joke or as part of a viral campaign.)
Of course, J.T. is hardly the only one to ascend from rockstar to apparent branding genius. Remember that time Jay -Z went to work for Anheuser-Busch? (Probably not)
We're just wondering when this trend is going to wane.
Yes, we know that consumer engagement probably sees a lift when a brand associates itself with a celebrity. But it's beginning to get really irksome that companies think consumers aren't the wiser -- and are oblivious to what are basically celebrity endorsements dressed up as some higher vocational calling. You're trying to tell us that they're not just pitchmen? You want us to believe they're actually punching the clock and working at the company.
So Lady Gaga's working at Polaroid, Will.I.Am is doing overtime at Intel, the Olsen Twins are toiling over at Superga, and -- the most disturbing of them all -- Victoria Beckham, the artist formerly known as Posh Spice, is teetering into Land Rover HQ in six-inch heels to offer her creative advice?
Marketers, hear us now: There are talented, nice, smart, creative people who are not celebrities who are doing branding work for you. Honor them and promote them instead. Because if you don't, it's going to get really ugly. Next thing you know, Rebecca Black will be named creative director for Klout.