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Everyone's A Brand Ambassador!

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Who needs a boring old endorsement deal? On Feb. 7, Anheuser-Busch named Justin Timberlake the ”creative, musical, and cultural curator” of its brew Bud Light Platinum. A week earlier, BlackBerry announced that Alicia Keys would serve as its ”global creative director,” a position that the smartphone company says will lead to ”new business initiatives that will drive engagement with BlackBerry.” More and more celebrities like Timberlake and Keys are boosting their résumés with all-encompassing brand ambassadorships that would make Joan Crawford jealous (the Mildred Pierce star was a famously enthusiastic Pepsi partisan in her day). In fact, Beyoncé signed a deal with Pepsi — which she now refers to as ”a lifestyle brand” — in late 2012 to shill soda, but the company will also provide millions of dollars for Bey’s personal creative projects. Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga have similar pacts with Diet Coke and Polaroid, respectively. It’s unclear how much creative control these stars really have, but ”branding” themselves has the potential to be a smart deal on both sides of the handshake.

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