Lady Gaga proved to be the star of the first official day of CES 2011, 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 stood around to see what was going on. The payoff was the official unveiling of the Grey Label line, consisting of three distinct products.
The first -- by far the most Gaga-like of the line -- is a set of sunglasses that double 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 Lady Gaga fashioned from old iPod screens while on tour several years ago. Second is a portable, wireless printer that users can send photos taken with their mobile phones to result in a 3x4 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 the 2011 holiday season.
For a trade show that often features executives awkwardly stumbling over their public speaking duties, and hired celebrities reciting scripted lines, Lady 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.
This could be because Lady Gaga is no mere spokeswoman. Polaroid first announced their 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, Lady 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 chariman Bobby Sager, 90% 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, but certainly not the only one. Rappers Lucacris and 50 Cent were on hand to unveil their respective line of headphones -- the SOUL from Luda and the Sleek Platinum from 50 Cent. And Lady Gaga wasn't the only one to endorse a line of digital cameras. Although he wasn't there, rapper Drake graced a number of posters and billboards hyping the new Kodak camera line as part of the "So Kodak" campaign.