Nobody wants to be just a singer or actor anymore. You’re nobody in this world until you have your own product line, whether it be swim suits, cologne, nightclubs, top-shelf liquor brands or energy drinks.
And while it makes perfect sense for a wildman rocker like Sammy Hagar to launch a line of high-end tequila, or for beatmeister Dr. Dre to launch a line of booming headphones and laptops, sometimes those celebrity/brand marriages are a bit murkier.
Case in point: the announcement this week that Justin Timberlake has bought a minority stake in once-hot social networking site Myspace and that he’ll be taking on the role of creative visionary at the relaunched company, which was bought at a fire sale by a West Coast tech firm. Yes, Timberlake has proven to be a triple threat as actor, singer and label boss, not to mention a fashion maven with his William Rast clothing line.
That got us thinking about other male music stars who’ve made bold deals with companies that might have seemed bizarre at first, but turned out to be among the best moves they’ve ever made.
50 Cent and Vitaminwater: Laugh all you want, but 50 has been savvy all along about his non-music ventures. From his G-Unit sneakers and clothing line to various PlayStation games, book imprints and RGX Body Spray, 50 has always looked for new opportunities. None has paid off like his deal with Glaceau, which hooked up with the rapper for the Formula 50 supplement drink. When Coca-Cola purchased Glaceau for more than $4 billion in 2007, 50 was estimated to have earned more than $100 million on the deal.
Will.i.am and Intel: Like 50, the Black Eyed Peas front man has been savvy about merchandising himself and his brand, but even he raised eyebrows earlier this year when it was announced that he’d be the “director of creative innovation” for the computer chip maker.
According to a press release, “As an extension of his insatiable fascination with technology, which plays a significant role in his professional and personal lives, will.i.am will engage in a multi-year, hands-on creative and technology collaboration with Intel Corporation.” Apparently, that means the BEP will collaborate with Intel on everything from laptops to smart phones and tablet computers, in addition to making music “expressly for Intel.” If you say so.
Travis Barker and Wahoo’s Fish Tacos: The Blink-182 drummer has his hands in many pies, from his LaSalle Records label to the accessory/apparel brand Famous Stars and Straps and the clothing labels Rogue Status and DTA. But when you find a fish taco you love, you just have to sign on the dotted line, so in 2004, Barker opened a franchise of the West Coast eatery Wahoo’s Fish Taco in Norco, California.
Justin Bieber and Someday: Ask most tween girls and they’ll probably tell you that in their dreams Biebs smells like heaven. But in reality his recently launched fragrance, “Someday,” which goes for $55 at Macy’s, smells a bit more like a bowl of fruity potpourri. Well, it can’t really be any stranger than his successful line of nail polish, right?