How does a brand from the pre-digital age that filed for bankruptcy in 2001 survive in the 21st century of social media and advanced gadget wizardry? They hire a pop icon who has created more buzz since Madonna first uttered "Material Girl." Lady Gaga, the 23-year old wacky fashionista might be considered this millennium's Mae West on steroids but it looks like she's landed a legit day-time job, just in case her 'performance art' persona falls out of favor.
Appearing at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it was announced that Grammy nominated songstress would be the new creative director for a line of imaging products for Polaroid. And as her first line of business, she rejected the 'old school' means of promoting a brand by simply becoming their spokesperson and slapping her photo on their products. Instead, she noted, "we won't be selling cameras with my face on them...I'm working on bringing the instant film camera back as part of the future."
And for those doubters that don't think the Haus of Gaga has "the chops" for marketing in the real world, check out her recently developed "Heartbeats," high-performance in-ear headphones that sells for a cool $119.95.online.
So what exactly is the connection between Polaroid and LG, and how does this help in the branding of an out-dated camera and film company. Well, for starters, its certainly got the blogosphere fired out (example, this posting) and if you want to shock people back into looking at your products, what better way to do it than have a controversial figure carry your flag. Also Polaroid was always known as a company that offered instant gratification, and the use a pop icon to reinforce that appeal was a very savvy move on their part.
From a tradition of avant-garde performers before her, Lady Gaga descends from female performance artists who date back to Josephine Baker who was also known for outlandish oufits and controversial stage performances. See any similarities between the shock value created by these two costumes.
Lady Gaga with Hat HairJosephine Baker with Banana Skirt
When diving into her new role as creative director, Ms. Gaga might want to capitalize on and build off of some of Polaroid's greatest moments of the past. Hard to believe this company went into Chapter 11 based on some of their very unique product placement tie-ins with famous movies and album releases over the last 20 years.
When Cher (Alicia Silverstone) goes shopping and needs to try on new clothes, she always takes a Polaroid camera with her. Why? Because she doesn't trust mirrors.
Director Christopher Nolan first grabbed the attention of the masses with this twisty noir flick, which centered around a guy named Leonard (played by Guy Pearce) who has a brain condition that doesn't allow him to make new memories. What does he do to supplement his brain? He takes a ton of snaps with his trusty Polaroid camera.
Outkast, "Hey Ya!"
When Andre 3000 dropped this single from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" became a pop culture catch phrase for most of 2003 and 2004.
When Wynona Ryder is trying to prove that her new house is haunted by ghosts, what does she use? Some rapid-fire snaps taken on a Polaroid camera.
And most recently, with the release of the highly successful film produced on a shoestring budget this past year...
One of the things that leads Katie and Micah to realize that something has definitely gone wrong in their house, Micah finds a partially burned Polaroid in the attic.
So while CES continues to 'gaga' over Gaga, I think Polaroid achieved what it set out to do - establish themselves as the come-back kid at one of the world's largest forums for product launches. While their new exec is probably not your typical pin-up girl, it certainly looks like landing the "Paparazzi" singer as the Polaroid Girl has given the company and her the added lift of at least another 15 minutes of fame, if not 15 years. Funny thing about fame...you never know! So just keep snapping,