Five tech endorsements that went horribly wrong



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4 October 2013 | 0

Take a look at the bigger casualties of the tech world this year. One unfortunate experience that binds them together is the use of celebrity endorsements that seemed like a good way to promote awareness and boost sales but instead left everyone looking ridiculous. For better or worse, here are five we pulled from the memory banks.

Robert Downey Jnr, HTC
“What does it all mean?” asks Jon Polito. Answer: “Whatever you want it to mean.”
Robert Downey Jnr shows up, does his Tony Stark schtick, and leaves – presumably with a wad of cash and his reputation somehow untarnished. The perfect celebrity endorsement, it was actually a decent ad for a decent product. Unfortunately the “Happy Telephone Company” isn’t anymore.



Jerry Seinfeld & Bill Gates, Microsoft
New Family was an attempt by ad agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky to add some quirk to the release of Windows Vista. Putting Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates together was an inspired choice, unfortunately the script writers hadn’t a clue what to do with them – echoing consumer reaction to Windows Vista. Meta.



Neil Gaiman & Alicia Keyes, Blackberry
Blackberry scored a double whammy at the release of its ill-starred Z10 and Q10 smartphones. Author Neil Gaiman was meant to be a hit with the techie set but the more accessible singer Alicia Keyes was meant to be a wider draw.
It’s unlikely Keyes lists her (possibly made-up) role as Blackberry’s ‘global creative director’ on her CV.





Matthew Perry & Jennifer Aniston, Microsoft
Perry and Aniston were at the height of their popularity in the mid-90s as Friends crushed everything on TV. Microsoft thought so much of them that it made an hour-long video around the duo getting to grips with Windows 95 in a ‘fun’ way. It looked like a German expressionist film and sounded like an episode of Seinfled – exactly the kind of skewed identity we’ve come to accept from Microsoft.



Kevin Costner, Apple
You can’t attribute the presence of Kevin Costner to the failure of the Lisa. Apple’s dud PC competitor cost $10,000 to buy and set the company back $50 million in hardware and $100 million in R&D. Maybe Apple was relying on some kind of breakthrough role in The Big Chill to give the future Robin Hood some pull. If so then it’s for the best that Costner’s scenes all ended up on the cutting room floor.



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