Ever wonder why and how some celebrities come together? Here are some examples and answers:
BlackBerry & Alicia Keys: The collaboration: In January, Keys was named global creative director for the struggling Canadian tech brand.
Why her? The pairing at first seemed odd, but many tech observers have pointed to Keys’s huge online following as a selling point.
What she does: Keys quickly attracted attention when she tweeted from an iPhone. (She claimed hacking.) Since then she’s been spotted with the BlackBerry Z10. Her latest world tour is sponsored by the brand, and she’ll be engaging fans as part of BlackBerry’s (BBRY) Keep Moving Project, for which she’ll use her Z10 to create a music video for each city she visits.
Does it make sense? Not really. Keys has more than 17 million followers on Instagram, but the photo-sharing service is not available on BlackBerrys. “If I were a superstar, I might look around, think about what’s happened to BlackBerry, and say, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’” says Al Lieberman, a marketing professor at NYU and co-author of The Entertainment Marketing Revolution.
Reebok & Swizz Beatz: The collaboration: Beatz became creative director of Reebok Classics in February 2011.
Why him? The producer and rapper is a fixture in the sneakerhead world and an art collector. He’s especially keen on Jean-Michel Basquiat—and Reebok’s (ADDYY) had a relationship with Basquiat’s estate for several years.
What he does: “Swizz had a huge influence in bringing back signature styles he thought were right for the market,” says Todd Krinsky, vice president of Classics and Entertainment at Reebok. He recently helped relaunch the Kamikaze shoe. Beatz consults on product design, particularly with the Basquiat collection of high-tops (starting at $110).
Does it make sense? Yes. The Kamikaze shoe sold out within 10 minutes. Sales at Reebok are up 60 percent since the collaboration started. “At the end of the day, any creative director is judged by the work—and look what he’s producing,” says veteran creative director Brian Collins, chairman of design firm Collins. “The sneakers are great, and he understands the role design plays in culture.”
Diet Coke & Marc Jacobs: The collaboration: Last month, Jacobs was named creative director for 2013, the soda’s 30th anniversary year.
Why him? It was his turn. Diet Coke (KO) has worked with a string of acclaimed fashion designers, including Karl Lagerfeld in 2011 and Jean Paul Gaultier in 2012.
What he does: Jacobs told Women’s Wear Daily that he’ll contribute to the design of three cans, three bottles, and three ad campaigns (shot by photographer and music video director Stéphane Sednaoui), each referencing iconic looks associated with a decade in fashion. Jacobs himself has already appeared, shirtless, in a few ads.
Does it make sense? Sure. Jacobs “understands how to operate as a creative, and he’s done it with a remarkable track record,” Collins says. “It seems to me to fit the perfect profile for Diet Coke. It’s more feminine and sophisticated. I think it’s smart.”
Intel & Will.i.am: The collaboration: In January 2011, Will was named Intel’s (INTC) director of creative innovation.
Why him? He used the company’s chips to create many of the Black Eyed Peas’ hits and has said of Intel, “Before I met you guys, I was collaborating with you guys.”
Read more: BloombergBusinessWeek