You couldn’t find hide nor hair of Mary J. Blige or Yoko Ono this year at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. And, surprisingly, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer didn’t deliver a star-studded CES keynote address, as was done in years past when Bill Gates was at the helm. Ballmer simply made a few austere Microsoft product announcements and discussed the economy woes before calling it a day.
As company marketing budgets are cut to the bone and show exhibitors scramble to just keep up and survive, it’s no wonder that big ticket celebrities are harder to come by this year. However, could this have a positive flip side – a more targeted marketing effort where celebrities actually have a connection with a brand?
SHARP, the official HDTV of Major League Baseball, brought in a slew of MLB All-Stars to try and hit a home run in their booth, including Prince Fielder, a first baseman for the Brewers, Big Papi, David Ortiz, and the Red Sox, New York Mets starting pitcher John Maine- and that’s just on the opening day.
NBA Hall of Famers dribbled in to the booth of Haier America, an official NBA partner. They got hoopsters Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, Robert “The Chief” Parish, and “Big Red Head” Bill Walton to hawk their wares.
Digital entertainment leader Creative blasted in Johnathan Fatal1ty Wendell, a world Quake champion and commentator for Championship Gaming Series telecasts on DirecTV, to introduce their new line of Fatal1ty branded Sound Blaster sound cards for gaming.
How does the return on investment compare, especially factoring in the economy? Will this just be a passing fad that will usher back in the A-listers next year- or will this be the new trend in branding?