One of the biggest, if not the biggest, trend at CES this year was the celebrity endorsed headphone. Specifically, the headphone endorsed by a celebrity that has no musical knowledge whatsoever. Snooki, for example, or even the New York Jets own Tim Tebow, who both released headphones at CES.
I don’t know what I’m more confused by: the companies or the celebrities themselves. Surely the company would want a well known singer or producer to back the headphones, instead of an American footballer more known for his Christian kneeling or a reality TV star.
Then the celebrities, who came out with so much BS about how they love music and, above all, tech that it makes a cow with diarrhoea seem like quite an appealing proposition.
Specifically in the case of Soul Electronics, it makes no sense. Why use Tim Tebow, when another figure in the company, Ludacris, is an accredited musician who knows more about headphones that Tim Tebow will know in a lifetime? He should be the face of the brand, not some American footballer. What a waste of money.
The sad thing is, it does make sense, but not in the way you want it to. It makes sense in that it’s purely for money. A celebrity endorsement like Snooki or Tebow will add $100 to the price of a pair of headphones, but nothing to the quality.
I would like to contrast the above with Beats by Dre and SMS (owned by 50 Cent), who do a much better job marketing their headphones. The former are endorsed by the likes of Dr. Dre himself, Lady Gaga, and P.Diddy, all well known musical figures, while 50 Cent just markets it all after himself, which is in my opinion the smartest way to go.
At least in the case of Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, they actually bring some valuable musical insight into the process for the extra money you pay. Furthermore, both are the only celebrities to actually own the companies that make the headphones, so it’s their own money that they’re spending.
The two unanswered questions though are why headphones and why now? To the former I’d say that they’re an easy product for companies to market and celebrities to pretend they know something about it. And what’s worse, people believe them. With a computer for example, you actually need to know something.
You can’t just go on about how good the audio sounds without saying anything else about how it actually works. If you think Snooki knowing her way around the ins and outs of sound quality is implausible, imagine what she’d be like explaining the difference between an SSD and a hard drive.
To the why now question, the answer is human nature. Vague, but let me go deeper. Beats by Dre were successful, so some execs somewhere decided they could get away with giving a celebrity dummy an endorsement deal and it would work just as well. And when a second person did it successfully, everyone else followed like a herd of sheep, hence the wave of new celebrity endorsed heaphones at CES.
Well that’s my rant over, and to end I’ll say this: if you really care about audio quality, go for a brand with audio expertise or if you want a celebrity at least go for one who’s experienced in the music industry. Going for somebody like Snooki is like buying a book on public speaking endorsed by George Bush.