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Lady Gaga proved the star of the first official day of CES 2011 on Thursday, taking the stage in the Polaroid booth to unveil a line of products she helped design.
The Polaroid booth was jammed with throngs of fans, press and passersby who just stood around to see what was going on, some for more than an hour. The payoff: the official unveiling of the Grey Label line, consisting of three distinct products.
The first — and by far the most Gaga-like of the line — is a set of sunglasses that doubles as a digital camera. Users can snap and save photos, as well as display them on the outer screen/lenses. The idea was born out of a pair of glasses Gaga fashioned from old iPod screens while on tour a few years back.
Second is a portable, wireless printer that users can send photos taken with their mobile phones to result in a 3×4 printout, so long as it has Bluetooth access (iPhones excluded for now).
“I’m sure many of you here are nerdy enough to carry around a mobile printer,” she told the crowd while conducting a live demo of the unit. “I know I am.”
Finally, there was the updated version of the classic Polaroid instant camera, which lets users save photos both digitally as well as printed out using an inkless technology called Zinc. Each cartridge holds 10 printouts.
All three products shown were prototypes, not expected to be available for sale until this year’s holiday season.
For a tradeshow that often features executive suits awkwardly stumbling over their public-speaking duties and hired celebrities reciting scripted lines about which they have little actual knowledge, Gaga proved herself an effective pitchwoman. She handled the live demos with ease, deftly ad libbing through the delays and calmly winning the crowd back when they rebelled over the lack of iPhone support for the printer.
That could be because Gaga is no mere spokeswoman. Polaroid first announced its partnership with her at last year’s CES, giving her the title of creative director. And it’s clear she played a hands-on role in designing these products.
“They really let me put my hands in there and design this shit myself,” she told the crowd.
For Polaroid, Gaga is a spearhead into a total brand reinvention. Bought by investor group Knight’s Bridge Capital Partners 18 months ago, the company’s goal is to reintroduce the Polaroid brand in a digital age. According to chairman Bobby Sager, 90 percent of the products the company plans to sell three years from now haven’t even been invented yet.
Gaga was by far the most visible celebrity at CES 2011, but certainly not the only one. Lucacris and 50 Cent were on hand to unveil their respective line of headphones — the SOUL for the former and the Sleek Platinum for the latter. And Gaga wasn’t the only one to endorse a line of digital cameras, either. Although he wasn’t there, Drake graced a number of posters and billboard hyping the new Kodak camera line as part of the “So Kodak” campaign.
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