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Celebrity Endorsements of Apps and other Software, really?

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So, who has not heard of, used or experienced, in some way, the advances in mobile communications? With Smart phones like the iPhone, Blackberry and the Droid being a part of the mainstream, I find it hard to believe the average consumer has not had some sort of smart phone experience. The increased functionality of these devices has made the ability to multi-task that much easier. You can conduct your personal banking, read the latest blog, order a movie for later that night, make dinner reservations and talk to you spouse virtually all at the same time.  What makes that possible?  APPS!

Recently, Oprah came out with her list of favorite apps for the iPad.  But my big question is whether we really need a celebrity giving us App endorsements?  As an avid Apple product user, I have heard of or used nearly all of the Apps Oprah endorsed. She didn’t provide me with any new information.

Let’s consider a historical celebrity endorsement – Michael Jordan and Nike™. That play was about communicating the essence of the feeling of using a product used by the Pros.  Nike Air™ implied that its product could make you jump higher, play better and look awesome – just like MJ.  But Oprah and Apps?  When did she become a professional GEEK?  Does she know how to write code? Is she an experienced gamer? Where is her institutional knowledge to back up the endorsement?

It’s not there, but OPRAH is a huge name with a ton of pull. In my opinion, her “endorsement” is simply water cooler talk. OPRAH plays the scrabble app and gets her news from the ABC app, and so do I (though I’m nothing like her).  In some ways, celebrity endorsements never change – they simply allow a consumer to feel closer to her celebrity idol. But with MJ’s endorsement, I felt like he knew about the product, was involved in the development and endorsed something he understood as well as used. Oprah’s endorsement falls more on the empty side of a celebrity talking up a product they may (or may not) use but do not understand. O Magazine doesn’t even have its own magazine app! What do you think?

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