Why is Brooklyn Beckham selling phones?

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By BBC

The 17-year-old son of David and Victoria Beckham is endorsing the Honor 8, Huawei’s latest smartphone, which was launched at an event in the US on Tuesday.

Brooklyn joins Hollywood stars Henry Cavill and Scarlett Johansson, alongside supermodel Karlie Kloss, as Huawei’s brand ambassadors.

A brand ambassador is a fancy way of saying they are being paid to appear in their advertising campaigns.

Lionel Messi signed a deal with Huawei worth $6m (£4.6m) in March, before he and his father were found guilty by a Barcelona court of tax fraud in July.

Over the years, many tech companies have hired famous people to drum up interest in their products, with varying degrees of success.

Most recently, acting royalty Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy attended the launch of the £11,400 Solarin phone, which promises military-grade security.

One of the most famous tech-celebrity partnerships is between U2 and Apple.

The Irish four-piece featured heavily in advertising for the iPod in 2004, and even created a special edition of the music player complete with engraved signatures of the band’s members.

However, Apple was criticised in 2014 when U2’s album Songs of Innocence appeared in an estimated 500 million iTunes accounts as part of a promotional giveaway.

Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr appeared in HTC’s adverts for its One smartphone in 2013, and again in 2015 to plug the One M9.

The campaign reportedly cost $1bn (£761m), but the Taiwanese company struggled to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple and its market share has dwindled.

While we are not cynical enough to suggest they are in it just for the money, there have been some slip-ups.

Singer Alicia Keys famously tweeted using the Twitter app for iPhone shortly after being named BlackBerry’s global creative director back in 2013.

Ms Keys later claimed she had been hacked.

Oprah Winfrey also tweeted how much she loved Microsoft’s Surface tablet – from her iPad – in 2012.

It is hard to say.

Chris Green, technology analyst at communications agency Lewis, says it depends on the product.

“Will.i.am and his association with Intel has helped to raise the company’s profile in terms of recruitment rather than just shifting products,” he says.

“Those partnerships can help to reinvigorate older tech brands with a new audience, such as Serena Williams and IBM, when they would normally think about Google and Facebook,” he adds.

But it is not all good news, he warns.

Choosing someone to represent your brand means you become wedded to the bad as well as the good.

“Being publicly associated with a celebrity who doesn’t maintain a code of conduct or expresses certain views can be potentially harmful”, says Green.

“It’s always a bit of a gamble, but the pay-off can be huge in terms of sales and brand perception.”

It is worth noting that Brooklyn’s dad David was a global brand ambassador for Motorola.

Beckham Snr signed a deal with the American brand in 2006, but was then photographed using an iPhone in 2009.

He later signed up to represent Samsung in 2012, before jokingly refusing to answer a ringing phone during a press conferences as “it’s not a Samsung”. Whoops.

Brooklyn shot a video guide to Instagram for Vogue last year, in which he used an iPhone.

We are sure it will be swiftly replaced by an Honor 8.

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