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So your company hired a pop megastar to shill for you. Now what?

More importantly: so what?

In a marketing move befitting the giant they’ve become, Salesforce.com has enlisted the services of Black Eyed Peas to launch their new communication tool, Chatter.

Chatter is software-as-a-service similar/identical to Yammer and Huddle, themselves essentially private network versions of Twitter. Chatter gives users many of Salesforce’s social network features free of charge, but reserves reporting dashboards and other high-end functionality for paid users of Salesforce.

This is another huge step toward moving essential business functions to the cloud. Hiring a pop radio megalith is a show of clout, clearly meant to entice bigwigs who get their knowledge about such things from trade magazines and keynote sessions. If a company has the sand–and the finances–to spring for such a huge pitch mascot, surely their product must be better. Right?

Besides, they’ve got the dude who was a hologram on CNN during the last election! That’s so cool!

Color me unimpressed. The move coincides with Black Eyed Peas’ upcoming Super Bowl halftime show, and in fact the show will be bookended by ads for Chatter starring–you guessed it–the Black Eyed Peas. All this from the same company whose CEO takes marketing advice from MC Hammer and issues promotional posters pretending to have the endorsement of the Dalai Lama.

This current expenditure brings to mind the dot-com boom-and-bust of the early 90s, when seemingly every Super Bowl ad was for some website that ended up busted within a year or two.

Today’s customers are savvier and more suspicious of hype than 10 years ago. A (literal) song-and-dance from a fading pop group does nothing to address the key question: what will the product do for me and my business?

For the stuffed shirts at multinational mega-giants, I’m sure the choice of Black Eyed Peas seems like a hip move. For the rest of the world–especially the more nimble, younger companies with new ideas–it’s a laughable one; another middle-aged Jimmy Buffett type grasping at straws to appear relevant and fresh.

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