Of course, just because a spokesperson can lend credence to a product doesn't mean that companies can grab anybody--or any celebrity--and create a successful ad campaign. Selection of the right public face is especially important when campaigns involve celebrities, according to Rohin Guha of New York-based Internet marketing firm Blue Phoenix Media.
According to Guha, not all celebrities are created equal--especially when it comes to the consumer technology market. Smart tech companies look for a celebrity spokesperson who has aligned himself or herself with technology or new media, Guha says.
Guha gives the example of pop singer Avril Lavigne, who recently featured a Sony VAIO laptop in one of her music videos.
"The intention is that Lavigne's fans should want to go out and purchase VAIOs for themselves," Guha says, "But Lavigne's personal brand is not exactly synonymous with new media and technology. So that product placement becomes a conspicuous prop instead of a branded directive to customers driving them to purchase new laptops."
Why Ashton Kutcher Moves Cameras
By contrast, Ashton Kutcher for Nikon is an example of a more thought-out campaign. Kutcher's strong presence on Twitter and Quora shows that he's entrenched in the tech world, and so it isn't much of a stretch to imagine him actually using a Nikon point-and-shoot camera, Guha says.
As for hard numbers, Nikon's market-share data suggests that in 2010 it rebounded from a dip between 2008 and 2009. Kutcher signed on in 2008, but it's important to note that a nationwide recession was happening at the time--so it's unclear as to whether Nikon's newfound success was due to Kutcher or changes in the economy.