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January 7, 2010 2:39 PM   Subscribe

Polaroid, the struggling instant film camera company, has hired a new creative director in hopes of returning the brand to its former glory. That hire just happens to be pop (and previously) sensation Lady Gaga. Polaroid Previously

Says Lady Gaga in response to the new position: "Lifestyle, music, art, fashion: I am so excited to extend myself behind the scenes as a designer and to — as my father puts it — finally, have a real job."
posted by mccarty.tim (65 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Inventor of specialty products" is a great job title.
posted by smackfu at 2:48 PM on January 7, 2010


And if anything actually comes to fruition from this, it will make an interesting post. This is pretty much like any vaporware product announcement, designed to get your name in the papers for no good reason other than an association with a celebrity. I wish Polaroid all the best, but this looks like desperation.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:50 PM on January 7, 2010


Aww...they should've hired Andre 3000.
posted by darkstar at 2:50 PM on January 7, 2010 [34 favorites]


I bought my sister a Polaroid PoGo bluetooth printer for christmas. It was pretty cheap, only £20, but she seemed to like it. Yay Polaroid.
posted by afx237vi at 2:51 PM on January 7, 2010


My heart goes out to the engineers and designers at Polaroid who will have to put up with creative input from an additional "director" who will not be working side by side with them on a daily basis.

While buying a name and bestowing an honorary title can bring much needed publicity to a product, I've never worked on a project where we had an arrangement like this that didn't hamstring development flow at some point.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 2:51 PM on January 7, 2010


i thought Lady Gaga was Andre's drag persona.
posted by artof.mulata at 2:51 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I thought she was Kaufman's new character, now that he's fake dead.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:52 PM on January 7, 2010


Polaroid just doesn't have much to go on these days. Digital cameras are even more instant than instant film, so they have no specialty-product advantage. Their digital cameras have never tried to be anything different and all end up being fair to crappy. They've still got name recognition, but that will fade if they don't manage to do something groundbreaking.

Lady Gaga won't help. Just a stunt.
posted by echo target at 3:03 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Calm down hate fans - this is a cool thing.
A particularly bonkers thing, but a cool thing none the less.
For Polaroid to be alive and making things they need exposure, and Ms. Gaga is about the most positive force of exposure on the planet right now in fame land. What's not to like?

I say hurrah for crazy minds and pictures you can hold in your hand.
posted by debord at 3:09 PM on January 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


To be fair, Polaroid is trying digital cameras with integrated pictures, but in the day of the instant multimedia text message, even that seems long in the tooth.

It's definitely a desperate, throw-stuff-at-the-wall move, but I'm interested to see what comes out of it.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:10 PM on January 7, 2010


Muh muh muh my Pol-a-roid face.

Nope, too many syllables.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:16 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am against throwing Lady Gaga at the wall.
posted by everichon at 3:16 PM on January 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


"I'm overexposed, but your pictures won't be."
posted by Wolfdog at 3:19 PM on January 7, 2010 [13 favorites]


It will work out for Kodak if they can use Gaga's weirdness to turn Polaroid into a Lomo style "art" camera. Kitchy colors, unique quality and odd reasons for existing embody both entities. It remains to be seen if together they can do anything.
posted by msbutah at 3:21 PM on January 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is a good thing. Will it help Polaroid? Maybe so, provided they treat her like an actual resource to be trusted and not just an adjunct brand name. Not only will they benefit from her (possibly crazy-pants) perspective, but she's a celebrity that has nothing to lose from publicly slamming them if Kodak attempts to just photo-op her involvement.

Also, I can't imagine that she won't nudge them in a direction that might involve a return to instant-film (or a digital camera plus mini-printer equivalent).
posted by grabbingsand at 3:21 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


All right, I think I'm getting the picture here. Lady GaGa—a musician that would prefer you shake it—is hired as a creative director by Polaroid, a company that previously preferred that you didn't.

Classic turn-it-on-its-head move there, Polaroid. Classic.
posted by defenestration at 3:23 PM on January 7, 2010


Muh muh muh my Pol-a-roid face.

Nope, too many syllables.


Of course, it's just "Muh muh muh my Pol-a-roid."

I wanna hold em' like they do in Japan please
Don't fold 'em, let 'em process, snap one baby, stay with me (I love it)
Photo intuition play the light with shades to start
And after he's been shot I'll get the pic that's in his heart

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, oh-oh-e-oh-oh-oh
I'll take his shot, show them what he's got
Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, oh-oh-e-oh-oh-oh,
I'll take his shot, show them what he's got

Can't see my,
Can't see my
No he can't get my Polaroid
(she's got me like nobody)
Can't see my,
Can't see my
No he can't get my Polaroid
(she's got me like nobody)
posted by filthy light thief at 3:25 PM on January 7, 2010 [17 favorites]


Also, she has already designed (some element) of Heartbeats, a line of headphones with Monster (of Monster Cable (in)fame(y)), alongside Dr. Dre's Beats studio and Beats tour headphones.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:30 PM on January 7, 2010


Aww, they should've hired GWAR.
posted by mullingitover at 3:30 PM on January 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


There is a great exhibit at the National Gallery that includes large format Polaroid pictures. Lady Gaga, if you're out there...I want one.
posted by JoanArkham at 3:33 PM on January 7, 2010


I left this on Digg.
posted by swift at 3:33 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


They've still got name recognition, but that will fade if they don't manage to do something groundbreaking.

They've only got brand recognition. While it still exists as a company, they don't make anything and their latest owners describe Polaroid as a "brand platform".

The original company collapsed nearly a decade ago and since then the brand has been licensed to various random companies to do what they like with.
posted by cillit bang at 3:34 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does this mean that pants are no longer required for working at Polaroid?
posted by stoneweaver at 3:38 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


They need a digital camera that prints immediately and connects to the web. Projection ability would also be great.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:39 PM on January 7, 2010


Also, how long do we need to wait before turning this thread into another love-in for Gagalupe?
posted by stoneweaver at 3:40 PM on January 7, 2010


Track 45 right, Stop
Center and Stop
Bad Enhance 34 to 36.
posted by Babblesort at 3:42 PM on January 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Homer Simpson is a brilliant man with lots of well thought out, practical ideas. He is ensuring the financial security of this company for years to come. Oh yes, and his personal hygiene is above reproach."
posted by yerfatma at 3:42 PM on January 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


It makes me feel especially curmudgeonly to admit that I totally don't get the Lady Gaga thing.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 3:44 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Polaroid Previously.

To be clear, as that FPP points out, the Polaroid we know today is nothing more than a licensed brand after the original company -- Polaroid Corporation (1937 - 2001) -- went bankrupt. Since then the license for the brand and its former assets have passed from Bank One to Petters Group Worldwide to Patriarch Partners LLC.
posted by ericb at 3:45 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aversion Therapy, please provide proof for David Bowie * (Andy Kaufman + Mae West) != Awesome
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:47 PM on January 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


You know what? Haters ride the douche bus. This isn't just a stunt; Gaga isn't an idiot. She's a very, very savvy marketer, in addition to being a pretty good musician and vocalist. Creativity is all around us; knowing how to sell it effectively in this saturated marketplace is rare. Good for her, and good for them.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:47 PM on January 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


> For Polaroid to be alive and making things they need exposure,...

I thought that was the problem.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:52 PM on January 7, 2010


The "the struggling" link to savepolaroid.com is an effort to try to convince a license holder to manufacture instant Polaroid film products which were discontinued last year.
posted by ericb at 3:53 PM on January 7, 2010


I see now, being one of the biggest pop stars for the last 18 months wasn't Gaga's final plan at all! It was all just a stepping stone, a "resume builder" if you will, for her post-grad job application to corporate America. The things kids will do to get a job these days....
posted by i less than three nsima at 3:59 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always expected her to team up with Gilette or Axe and release a deodorant called Disco Stick.
posted by fleetmouse at 4:00 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's pretty funny. I am a fan Lady Gaga on facebook, and a recent post of hers was fishing for a score in a town she was touring. I'm not sure if the execs at Polaroid know what that means ... or, frankly, if it would matter to them at this point even if they did.

Polaroid has done one thing right recently. They are trying to market themselves as the company which makes printers with replacement ink that's not a ripoff. However, I don't own one of their printers and have no idea how successful that really is for them, but someone had to do it.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:02 PM on January 7, 2010


Mae West was sexy, David Bowie was incredibly talented, and Andy Kaufman was ... well, kind of a douchebag. Lady Gaga doesn't seem to be any of these. She's just kind of a nonentity in a weird outfit. I'm sorry, "quirky" just isn't enough.

Get off my lawn, etc,
posted by Aversion Therapy at 4:04 PM on January 7, 2010


Haters ride the douche bus.

And the short bus, too.
posted by fixedgear at 4:05 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I see now, being one of the biggest pop stars for the last 18 months wasn't Gaga's final plan at all! It was all just a stepping stone, a "resume builder" if you will, for her post-grad job application to corporate America. The things kids will do to get a job these days....

Well, I know that wasn't serious, but she's very good at fleshing out the character she's created a bit at a time while blatantly slamming the whole concept of a pop star through the songs she writes, so it's a lot of showbiz and marketing savvy on her part, though that's what she studied in college. I think she's far more than just a pop star or musician for that matter. But she's a decent musician beneath it all, so I suspect (or hope, anyway) that she will continue making music.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:06 PM on January 7, 2010


Mae West was sexy, David Bowie was incredibly talented, and Andy Kaufman was ... well, kind of a douchebag. Lady Gaga doesn't seem to be any of these. She's just kind of a nonentity in a weird outfit. I'm sorry, "quirky" just isn't enough.

Andy Kaufman was a douchebag? I had trouble taking anything seriously after reading that.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:07 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bad Chrominance.
posted by panboi at 4:08 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


This isn't just a stunt; Gaga isn't an idiot. She's a very, very savvy marketer

Replace Gaga in that sentence and I'm suddenly in the last half-dozen Obama threads.

Count me in the Gaga-fan camp, but an action doesn't become smarter according to who does it. If the move is smart, my estimation for her goes up, not the other way round. Anything else is the rather embarrassing exceptionalism of the fanbase.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:09 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Best of luck to Polaroid, but this sort of reminds me of the time Stan Lee hired George Hamilton.

(Granted: however sick I may be of hearing about Lady Gaga, she is far from the has-been George Hamilton was when Stan Lee Media hired him.)
posted by usonian at 4:38 PM on January 7, 2010


> Mae West was sexy, David Bowie was incredibly talented, and Andy Kaufman was ... well, kind of a douchebag. Lady Gaga doesn't seem to be any of these.

Think Pop Will Eat Itself in a rubber dress.

A different rubber dress.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:38 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another Polaroid previously. By all means, check out that link, if you haven't already. Beautiful little promotional film by the fantastic Charles and Ray Eames.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:42 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I will take this opportunity to confess that the first time I'd ever heard of Lady Gaga was in that Autotune the News video.

Yes, I live in a cave. But it's an internet-ready cave.
posted by darkstar at 4:43 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I can't imagine that she won't nudge them in a direction that might involve a return to instant-film (or a digital camera plus mini-printer equivalent).

She'd be a bit late to that party :) Polaroid already produces new digicams with built-in printers. The prints (which are also stickers) are about 30 cents each.
The cameras are bulky and ugly like the polaroid cameras of old, though.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:49 PM on January 7, 2010


They need a digital camera that prints immediately and connects to the web. Projection ability would also be great.

1a: camera that instantly prints: done (Polaroid PoGo, still available/being made)
1b: camera that uploads photos to the internet: done (Cerevo came out in Japan recently)
2: camera with projector capability: done (Nikon Coolpix S1000pj was recently released worldwide)
posted by filthy light thief at 4:56 PM on January 7, 2010


This is the strongest evidence yet that GaGa is an unstoppable marketing force: a glorified press release pepsi blue post like this isn't flagged all to hell and deleted immediately.
posted by Kwine at 5:12 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


If Polaroid decides to become the TiVo of camera functionality like the Cerevo has -- in that they've already got the name recognition, and as they'd be one of many companies offering the functionality in time, making their UI second-to-none in consistency and ease-of-use -- then they'll be a player again.
posted by davejay at 5:41 PM on January 7, 2010


You know, all you folks who say 'instead of reviving instant film, polaroid should make a digital camera that does [insert web 2.0 term]', or the like - you don't get it.

You just don't get it.

YOU DON'T GET IT.

It's like going outside, pitching a tent, starting a campfire nearby, roasting hot dogs on a stick, watching the stars above ... and then some yokel walks by and points out that instead you could be in a Marriot, microwaving the hot dogs and watching the Cartoon Network, lying on a soft bed in a warm suite.

Yes, if your goal is comfort, ease, and leisure you could be in the Marriot ... but then you'd be missing out on something.

Something that is not replicated by a digital camera, or even a digital camera hooked up to an instant printer.

What are you missing, you ask? Well, 'if you gotta ask, you'll never know'...

Or if you went to your local music store, and noted there is resurgence in vinyl records. So you pick up a record and say, 'this is nice, but what would be better is a format that you can rip the audio and store it into your Ipod. And, you know, a format that doesn't sound so ... analog ...'

YOU DON'T GET IT.

apologies if I'm overstating the case.
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 6:13 PM on January 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


I don't get it.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:39 PM on January 7, 2010


A few years ago, I noticed 'Polaroid' turned up as the brand name for the cheap crummy batteries (C AA AAA) for sale at a local dollar store. Got some AA's. Cheap. Sucked.

As noted above, real Polaroid has disappeared. The name is now a licensed bit of meaninglessness.

Lady Gaga is another meaningless term. She should have use 'Elaine Johnson' (Whoopi Goldberg's original name) It would emphasize that her pretty remarkable talent is contained in a plain brown or caucasian wrapper.
posted by hexatron at 6:53 PM on January 7, 2010


Yes, if your goal is comfort, ease, and leisure you could be in the Marriot ... but then you'd be missing out on something.

You certainly would be.
posted by Zambrano at 7:00 PM on January 7, 2010


That's pretty funny. I am a fan Lady Gaga on facebook, and a recent post of hers was fishing for a score in a town she was touring. I'm not sure if the execs at Polaroid know what that means ... or, frankly, if it would matter to them at this point even if they did.


Wait wait wait. I need to know more about The Curvy White Duchess trying to score via Facebook. Polaroid screen caps or it didn't happen.
posted by Babblesort at 7:04 PM on January 7, 2010


I expect Lady Gaga to confuse and surprise me, so she she should not be able to do so. Yet she does.
posted by chairface at 7:22 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


In case nobody noticed, Polaroid's bringing back instant film cameras that use Polaroid 1000 or 600 film. So that means Gaga's going to need to think up something other than the obvious "bring back film."
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:25 PM on January 7, 2010


They need a digital camera that prints immediately and connects to the web. Projection ability would also be great.

Camera that connects to the web = cellphone. With all the carrier locking and random B.S. this is more of a political problem then anything else. You can't just make a device that connects to the moble web without going through a company like ATT, and most people can't multiple handsets on one account.

But sony does make cyber shot phones: phones with pocket cam quality cameras built in.

As far as projection, cellphones are on it as well But obviously that's going to eat the hell out of battery life.
posted by delmoi at 7:55 PM on January 7, 2010


A Lady Gaga ad that actually makes sense (though I'm buying that hot Cyndi red).

As for the Polaroid promotion, it does smack of desperation. As is often the case when a company hitches itself to the latest thing. I miss the quirkiness of real Polaroids, and I think they're still used in model portfolios, but they really were unique.

Someone said digital is more instant than Polaroid, but Polaroids print out in that oddly charming way, shake, and they exist. I'm a stickler for printed materials as it is, I guess.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:01 PM on January 7, 2010


Okay, I'll clarify my previous statement. I don't know the first thing about Lady Gaga, so I don't know if this is any kind of stunt for her, or whether she takes it seriously. I'm saying that a once-mighty camera company has been reduced to pulling a stunt to get some publicity. I doubt they take it very seriously.

And speaking as someone who buys and uses cameras, I don't care what face goes in their ads. If their cameras suck, I ain't buying 'em. All their digital cameras have been unremarkable at best.
posted by echo target at 8:06 PM on January 7, 2010


How about a camera that looks like a Polaroid? Makes the noises and everything. And it has some kind of internal timer that gradually displays the picture you just took with that classic "develops while you shake it" look to it. Throw on an SD slot and a USB port and you're good to go.

Make it so the white "handle" area at the bottom can be switched out with different color "bumpers" so you can personalize it. And put it all on a lanyard so the kiddies can carry it without the need for pockets.

...or it could all just be a stunt to get Polaroid's name out there again. Who knows?
posted by hgswell at 10:56 PM on January 7, 2010


This is the strongest evidence yet that GaGa is an unstoppable marketing force: a glorified press release pepsi blue post like this isn't flagged all to hell and deleted immediately.

The problem is that this material is in the stereotypical MeFi crossroads: nostalgic item of note/value (Polaroid) crossed with pop star of note/talent (Gaga). Most will laud the former for past glories, while the latter will be supported by some, a secret love of others, and more will decry that pop material is shallow and uninteresting. Mix the two, and (the stereotyped) MeFites can't keep away!
posted by filthy light thief at 7:16 AM on January 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Filthy Light Thief, that's why I couldn't resist posting this, even though it truthfully is a bit thin. If I had a time machine, I'd go to when the cameras were actually designed, or at least after the "they're makin' film again!" news dropped. But I was blinded by a tag team of nostalgia and novelty.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:35 AM on January 8, 2010


Wait wait wait. I need to know more about The Curvy White Duchess trying to score via Facebook. Polaroid screen caps or it didn't happen.

She posts all the time, like many times throughout the day usually, and I think most of the time it's her. I bet you can find it if you go back through, but her page is pretty busy.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:00 PM on January 8, 2010


The problem is that this material is in the stereotypical MeFi crossroads: nostalgic item of note/value (Polaroid) crossed with pop star of note/talent (Gaga).

Yes, but more than that, Lady Gaga is into using the tools of the media whenever possible to push her media-critical message. She's a lot like Devo in that sense, completely willing to bite the hand that feeds her and yet gets asked to do it again and again, because she understands how to use the same tools they use to pull it off and still be completely entertaining.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:06 PM on January 8, 2010


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