Contemporary Renaissance man Nick Cannon is adding another line to his already-crowded résumé by joining beleaguered electronics chain RadioShack as the company's chief creative officer. The company may be bankrupt and shrinking, but that hasn't stopped it from pursuing synergistic celebrity relationships. Cannon is a notorious BlackBerry enthusiast, a regular CES attendee, and a seasoned entertainment executive; on the surface, it's a solid fit. But turning around one of the country's most storied electronics retailers is going to be harder than starring in Drumline or hosting America's Got Talent. The company's had to sell off hundreds of stores, thousands of rock-bottom shares, and even consumer data to stay afloat.
The history of working relationships between celebrities and tech companies is checkered at best. Cannon's beloved BlackBerry hired Alicia Keys as its "global creative director" only to watch Keys tweet from an iPhone a few weeks later. (They parted ways within a year.) People may have laughed when Ashton Kutcher was named a Lenovo "product engineer," but they actually ended up making a media-friendly tablet together. And while will.i.am's made for an impressive CES spokesperson in his role as Intel's "director of creative innovation" and 3D Systems' own "chief creative officer," it's unclear what he actually does for these companies.
Cannon's going to help "inspire and educate the next generation."
According to a press release, Cannon's role with RadioShack will involve "creating RadioShack-exclusive products and curating the in-store experience." He'll also help to "inspire and educate the next generation." There's no guarantee RadioShack will even be around to assess the impact of all that inspiration on today's youth, but I suppose Cannon's now part of making that a certainty. "RadioShack is a brand that matters," says Cannon in a statement. "As a kid, spending time in my neighborhood RadioShack was invaluable... in return, I wanted to give back by fostering creative pursuits in others, and helping kids move to the next level."