Twitter, Foursquare Founders Make Ads: Are Tech Entrepreneurs Sexy?

The Influence Project

Everyone knows what sells: sex. If Anheuser-Busch slaps some scantily-clad models drinking Bud Light and playing pool on an ad, they can expect a sales bump. Which is why it’s odd that some advertisers have recently been passing over models and celebrities on several marketing campaigns in favor of a new source of appeal: entrepreneurs. When did entrepreneurship–especially at nerdy tech start-ups–become sexy?

Take Gap’s latest Holiday print ads, for example. Who is fronting the campaign? Foursquare founders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai. Tech-lovers are certainly psyched for the check-in experts, but will they appeal to Gap customers?

As a side note, this may be a consolation prize. Gap passed over Foursquare for competitor Facebook Places on a recent promotion. The clothing retailer gave Facebook fans 10,000 jeans for free–and apparently only two pairs to Dennis and Naveen. Perhaps the Gap ad, along with their boyish expressions, signal they’re unfazed by Facebook’s threat, as they’ve told us before.

Only weeks ago, Stoli vodka hoped to capitalize on a similar sentiment. The company featured Twitter co-founder Biz Stone (and Stone as his own doppelgänger) in both a print and video ad. Is this a new trend?

It’s not too surprising that these tech innovators are fronting ad campaigns. Brands everywhere are trying to crack the social media code. Featuring the founders of Foursquare or Twitter may just be another attempt to go viral. And let’s not forget this was the year of The Social Network, the critically-acclaimed film that has somehow managed to make tech start-ups and entrepreneurs–dare I say–cool.

At least, cooler than Bill Gates hawking Coca-Cola.