Celebrities have been endorsing products for years, including everything from Ronald Reagan appearing in Chesterfield cigarette ads (during his acting years, not his presidential terms), through to Kate Moss flogging mascara.
But simply appearing in the ad isn't enough for some celebrities these days. Now they're getting their names on the products themselves. For some celebs, this is a labour of love that gives them the chance to get involved with a brand or product that they're passionate about, and for others it's merely a way to make as fast buck. So without further ado, here's our round-up of the best celebrity-branded gadgets around. Whether the celebs involved are seen as clued-up brand ambassadors or money-grabbing opportunists is up to you.
Polaroid Grey Label - Lady Gaga
Eccentric singer Lady Gaga was recently made the creative director at Polaroid and has launched the Grey Label range in collaboration with the brand. The first product to hit the shops is the GL10 intstant printer, which uses Zink inkless printing to make hard copies of snaps from your mobile. Most handsets, including Android and BlackBerry, are currently supported with iOS compatibility expected to follow next year. Two more products are due in 2012 - the GL30 instant camera, which will include a pop-up screen for viewing and an SD card slot for storing snaps, along with the bizarre GL20 glasses which will incorporate a camera as well as two forward-facing screens for showing off your pictures.
This isn't just a case of Ms Gaga slapping her name on the box, in a recent interview, Polaroid's MD, Graeme Chapman told Pocket-lint that she's actively involved in the design of her products:
"She was using Polaroid cameras at her concerts - taking snaps of her audience and then handing them out to the crowd. She wanted to be involved and had some ideas that she wanted to develop. At first, she was employed as a brand ambassador but very quickly we realised that her ideas were worth pursuing and that she wanted to play an active part in developing the products, so she's now creative director."
Beats by Dr. Dre
We would never make the mistake of forgetting about Dre, or Dr Dre to you and me, especially when the former NWA rapper has lent his name to such a great gadget. The Monster Beats by Dre collection ranges from the super-pricey Beats Pro cans (£275) down to the in-ear iBeats (£70.50). The collection also includes the exercise-friendly over-ear bud Powerbeats (£119). As well as the telltale b (for Beats) symbol, all of the headphones sport slick black, silver red or white styling as well as top-notch audio.
Rather disappointingly, speaking to Pocket-lint at the launch of his latest product line-up, Dre said:
"I'm not really a gadget fan. All I do is check emails and use my iPhone. If I can’t use something in the studio, then I don’t care".
Oh well, they really are splendid headphones anyway.
HP Harajuku Lovers camera - Gwen Stefani
Back in 2005, No Doubt warbler Gwen Stefani teamed up with HP to launch the limited edition Photosmart R607 Harajuku Lovers digital camera. Getting some screentime in the singer's video for her hit tune Hollaback Girl, the camera is decorated with kanji and katakana characters with a design inspired by the Harajuku district of Tokyo that's famous for its quirky street fashions. The compact 4.1-megapixel snapper was supplied with lots of goodies including a case and charm designed by Stefani. Only 3,000 were produced so the only place you're likely to find one now is on eBay.
Stefani teamed up with HP again in 2007 as the face of its new printer campaign, offering a range of options such as paper dolls that could be customised online and printed at home.
Canon EOS 550D Jackie Chan Edition
When we heard that Marital Arts legend and all-round niceguy Jackie Chan was teaming up with Canon we could barely contain our excitement. The Chan-branded "Eye of Dragon" EOS 550D DSLR was launched back in 2010, sporting the film star's Chinese dragon/JC logo in gold along with a fancy matching case and strap.
Only 2,010 were made (what with it being 2012 an' all) but sadly (unless you're in China) the camera was limited to the Chinese market, putting it firmly out of the reach for the Pocket-lint travel budget. Bugger.
Beats by Dr. Dre Diddybeats
Not content with getting the legendary Dr Dre on its books, Monster has also joined forces with Sean "Diddy" Combs (also known as P.Diddy or the mildly more silly moniker of Puff Daddy). The result is the Monster Diddybeats high quality in-ear phones. Although clearly designed with hip-hop in mind, the earphones perform well on a range of music, so if you'd rather listen to Michael Buble than Ice T, then go right ahead.
Like the Monster Beats, the Diddybeats have been "co-created" by their celeb namesake. Whatever that means. Yours for £87.
Lomography White Stripes Diana+ Meg Edition
When it came to their gadget hook-up, the now-defunct White Stripes went decidedly lo-fi by teaming up with analogue camera brand, Lomography. The Meg Edition Diana+ is named after the band's drummer and sports the duo's trademark red, white and black colour scheme. Completing the product pairing is the Holga Jack Edition - named after the band's front man, Jack White.
Designed "in conjunction with the band", both cameras take 120 film and also come with a custom "peppermint" swirl-patterned mask filter. The Diana+ Meg edition (£150) appears to be sold out, but you can still pick up the Jack Holga for £150. The brand has also teamed up with Tori Amos to offer the limited edition Diana+ Tori which is available from the flame-haired singer-songwriter's website for $150.
Apple U2 ipod
Back in 2004, Apple teamed up with Irish stadium rockers to produce the U2 iPod. Sporting a slick black finish with a red click wheel, the gadget also featured the band members' signatures on the back. The 20GB music player launched with a price tag of £249 and can still be found online for as little as £213.79.
U2 frontman Bono commented:
"We want our audience to have a more intimate online relationship with the band, and Apple can help us do that".
He soon changed his mind when the partnership came to an abrupt halt before the band teamed up with BlackBerry for a lucrative tour partnership.
Tony Hawk: Ride skateboard controller
One for the gamers, this controller bears the name of pro skateboarder Tony Hawk and goes hand-in-hand with the Tony Hawk: Ride game for Xbox, PS3 and Wii. The motion control deck has been crafted to look just like a real skateboard and incorporates two accelerometers to give you yaw, pitch and roll sensors that will link up with what happens to your on-screen character.
We rather doubt that Hawk had much to do with the design on this one, but it looks pretty cool nonetheless and you can get one for as little as £28.14.
Beats by Dr. Dre JustBeats - Justin Bieber
Thought headphone tie-ups were just for bling-tastic hip-hops stars? Think again. Pint-sized singer, YouTube sensation and teenaged heartthrob Justin Bieber has also got in on the act. Styled in purple (which is apparently the singer's favourtie colour), the JustBeats are available as an on-ear set of cans (£124.95), or in-ear phones (£89.05).
Firmly aimed at the tweenge girl market, these are essential Bieber-themed versions of the Beats by Dre PowerBeats and iBeats.
Golden iPod touch - David Beckham
Back in 2008, Golden Balls himself, David Beckham was the lucky recipient of a gold-plated 32GB Apple iPod touch. The extravagant gift was given to him by his teammates to mark the occasion of his 100th England cap - a milestone attained thanks to an England friendly against France. The tasteful pressie was engraved with the England football crest along with the footballer's name and the words "For his 100th England Cap".
Naturally, this was a one-off, so don't expect to find a similar gadget at your local Apple Store.
Gold Nintendo Wii - The Queen
As pimped-up gadgets go, this one has to be the most ambitious we've seen. Games maker THQ produced this gold-plated Nintendo Wii for none other than The Queen herself. Obviously this wasn't a special order from the head of state, merely a PR stunt for the family-oriented console.
As amusing as it is to picture Queen Elizabeth and her hubbie, along with Harry, Wills and Kate leaping around the rooms of Buckingham Palace in a game of motion-controlled tennis, we have doubts as to whether it ever actually made it out of the box. Unsurprisingly, the gold version of the Wii has never been made available to the proles.
George Foreman grill
When it comes to kitchen gadgets this one doesn't pull any punches, which is no surprise, as it bears the name of former heavyweight boxing champ Geoge Foreman. At £19.99, this two-portion compact grill is the most affordable item from the knockout lineup of fat-busting health grills, which includes a wide selection of models such as family-size products and grills with removable plates.
George has earned more from the sale of these gadgets than he ever did in his years as a boxer, making this a very shrewd partnership indeed.
Elton John charity iPods
If Liberace were alive, these flamboyant iPods would definitely be the gadgets for him. Thankfully Elton John is hear to fill the piano virtuoso's sparkly boots and it was he who teamed up with Apple to launch this range of nanos to raise cash for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Just 100 of each colour of the Swarovski crystals-encrusted iPods were made.
The iPods were on sale from Goldgenie and Selfridges - £399.99 for the 8GB model and a rather steep £449.99 for the 16GB version, but as all the profits went to charity, you won't hear any complaints from us.
Nooka Zub watch - Kanye West
Whether you like Kanye West or not is completely irrelevant when you see how cool this glow-in-the-dark watch is. Initially, 15 of these little beauties were made for very, very important people at Kanye's last show of his Glow in the Dark tour (see what they did there?), but a limited number were later offered for sale on the Nooka blog.
If you've got some cash to splash, then you might be interested to know that there appear to be a few still knocking around online for about £124.99.
What's your favourite celebrity gadget? And what's the most shameless celeb gadget endorsement you've seen? Let us know in the comments box below.