She's often compared to Madonna, a pioneer in this space, but as AdAge points out, it took Madonna years to reach this level of commercial success and marketing partnerships. Part of that is because that world has sped up. Moreover, AdAge argues, Lady Gaga has successfully used social media to go from complete unknown to mega-celebrity in just over a year, Her fans are following her on Twitter (2.8 million of them) or becoming her fan on Facebook (5.2 million), or buying her singles online 20 million strong. And they're the ones that are making her a popular choice for marketers:
Within a year of her out-of-the-box rise to fame in September 2008, Gaga had already lined up Virgin Mobile as a sponsor of her Monster Ball tour; created her own brand of headphones, Hearbeats by Lady Gaga, with record label Interscope; and landed her own (cherry pink) lipstick as a spokeswoman for Mac Cosmetics' Viva Glam, benefiting Mac's AIDS fund. And by January, she was tapped by Polaroid to become the brand's creative director, hired specifically to create new products and inject life into a brand that hasn't been hip for years — save for maybe a popular reference in Outkast's "Hey Ya!"
Her Viva Glam lipstick with Cyndi Lauper, by the way, has been the most successful launch in the line's 16-year history.
So what is everyone responding to? Ironically for a pop star so obviously engaged in self-creation and costuming, it's authenticity. Her manager and the marketing reps at her label say that the twenty-three year-old singer is personally responsible for formulating the "brand's" creative vision and communicating with fans. Not unrelatedly, they've deliberately stayed away from partnerships that look like endorsements, instead opting for creating products that at least appear to have Gaga's own stamp.
And they didn't even mention the condoms!