EA Games have just announced that their long time partnership with golf legend Tiger Woods has come to an end. The infamous golfer’s name will no longer be attached to their PGA Tour games. So today I’ve decided to take a look at celebrities’ and their endorsements in the tech world, some good, some odd and some seemingly inappropriate…
Lionel Messi – FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer
Sports games are renowned for their celebrity led endorsements, the covers of most annual releases of either FIFA or Pro Evolution are graced with the world’s most famous, most impressive and most popular soccer players. The competition between the two lucrative soccer video games is fierce and nothing exemplified this more than when one of the best football player’s the world has ever seen, Lionel Messi, switched from endorsing Pro Evo to sign a multi-year contract with rival’s FIFA, severing ties with Konami’s Pro Evolution for life. When making the announcement of this signing Messi stated “I want to be part of the team behind the best sports game in the world.” When it comes to celebrity endorsements that one must have stung!
Harrison Ford – Uncharted 3
He is legendary for playing the impressively agile, brave and adventurous archaeologist Indiana Jones so perhaps Harrison Ford was a suitable choice for the promotion of Uncharted 3, add to that the fact that Uncharted’s principal character Nathan Drake is greatly inspired by Indiana Jones and it does seem like a relatively reasonable combination. But at 69 the veteran action hero may not be the first celeb that would spring to mind when you are choosing someone for the endorsement of a modern day action game! The Japanese commercial starring Ford playing the game can be viewed as a clever marketing ploy to attract to a whole new audience of gamers or an embarrassing ad that inspires feelings akin to when your Dad starts busting dance moves at a wedding. Cool or cringe? We’ll let you decide!
William Shatner – Commodore VIC-20
William Shatner introduced the Commodore VIC-20 as the “wonder computer of the nineteen eighties” this ad manipulates his Star Trek persona to bring this futuristic technology to audiences around the world. The inclusion of Captain Kirk in the advertisement of the 8-bit home computer appealed to the sci-fi fans that the company believed would be especially interested in purchasing their product. The Commodore may be dated and considered a relic of an era that is long gone but the concept of celebrity endorsements has continued with technology and video games to the modern day. Well at least in 1980 the choice of celebrity for products appeared to make some sense….
Jerry Seinfield – Microsoft
The partnership of sitcom star Jerry Seinfeld and Microsoft founder Bill Gates seems an odd combination but throwing the two of them together in mundane everyday situations in order to promote Microsoft just seems downright daft! But alas that is exactly what Microsoft did in a series of commercials in 2008. Perhaps the humour was meant to present the happy-go-lucky nature of Gates and his products or maybe it was just some cheeky Monty Python-like comedy sketch to leave viewers confused? Well whatever it was there is no mention of the product in the advertisements bar the appearance of the logo at the end. But maybe that is exactly what Gates wanted, the world knows Microsoft maybe this is just a proclamation that the powerful tech company is fun at heart? Or maybe he’s just a Seinfeld fan? Let’s face it, if you are Bill Gates you can pretty much do what you want.
John Lennon – OLPC
I find it hard to ‘imagine’ that the late and legendary John Lennon would have ever allowed this endorsement to take place if he was still alive but whether or not the use of his image was a good idea or not it certainly generated a lot of column inches for tech charity One Laptop Per Child. This charity used an image of the former Beatle teamed with a Liverpool accented voice-over to promote awareness for their aim of providing laptops to children in the third world. Although the use of Lennon’s image was approved by his estate and he himself was famous for his humanitarian work and philanthropy there still seems to be something unsettling and inherently wrong with the use of his image and imitation of his voice posthumously.