At the 2013 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show, a noticeable phenomenon that made the show floor more exciting was perhaps the presence of celebrity endorsed and licensed tech products. This isn’t really anything new; CES has been known to feature gizmos promoted by athletes, movie stars, and musicians. But the scope has greatly changed today in the sense that now more than ever, consumers are choosing to purchase these products once they hit the shelves because they’re supposedly influenced by the celebrity’s lifestyle and taste.
Unlike ten years ago, a time when gadgets are manufactured as is and then a celebrity whose personality or reputation provides a good fit to the product gets chosen to represent it, you wouldn’t see any celebrity hanging out at a technology trade show. The trend today is to create or engineer a product according to the preferences or taste of someone famous. Specifically, this celebrity-infused spectacle became viable for audio companies. Today, endorsed headphones are in, and like what BBC said, celebrities are “queuing up to put their name on the side of your head.”
It all started when hip-hop star Dr. Dre (Andre Young in real life) embarked on a mission to produce audio products and equipment with a company he founded in 2006 named Beats Electronics, LLC. Two years after his foray into the manufacturing biz, his first hardware called Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones debuted in the market. Quickly, he became the driver of the whole celebrity earphone explosion. Today, his company produces headphones emblazoned with big names like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. His brand has transformed a status symbol synonymous to distinctive and trendy music listening.
Soon after Dr. Dre opened the floodgates of the celebrity-branded headphone market, others immediately followed suit. Here are the buzzworthy celeb-inspired products that made it to the CES 2013 floor.
- NFL player Tim Tebow introduced a new signature line of headphones with audio accessories company Soul Electronics. His signature earphones featured a high-endurance series for athletes called “Combat+” and a business-inspired series aptly called the “Jet” which is ideal for executives. Tebow mainly talked about how he wanted to have “something comfortable I could practice on the field in before games,” when talking about the Combat+ series. However, the Jet series sounded more appealing as it is for the people who make business phone calls regularly and those who fly across the country to close big deals.
- Motorhead is an English rock pioneer whose diversified products ranging from beer, vodka, video games, and even Disney movies made them more visible in the media. At CES 2013, frontman Lemmy Kilmister unveiled the Motorheadphones, a pair less focused on the deep bass most successful celebrity headphones bank upon. Obviously, the headphones were designed with rock and roll music in mind, so it accommodates a mid-range sound that’s louder, clearer, and heavier – “crushing,” as Lemmy defined it.
- Nicole Polizzi or Snooki of Jersey Shore fame also attracted hype at the event after promoting a line of headphones manufactured by iHip among other quirky tech. Snooki noted that she was very involved in the design process, because she wanted to offer a fashionable alternative to women who want to look as good as they do. Her “couture” audio accessory line reportedly includes cheetah-printed headphones, hot pink and bow-inspired clip-on headphones, ear buds that look like earrings, and even feathered headbands that also work as headphones.
Headphones are becoming bigger these days even for the casual consumers, partly due to the fact that a large segment of the market features items endorsed by popular celebrities. Indeed, there is money to be made with these technology offerings, and the phenomenon may stay in the future.
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