One of the perks that comes with having your face on television is the torrent of free stuff that companies throw at you in the hope that you’ll be spotted using their product and boost its sales. Celebrities receive all kinds of gifts from expensive jewelry, to clothes, cars, and even $100,000 gift bags just for attending the Oscars. But they can forget receiving any preferential treatment from Apple.
The Cupertino company refuses to give away its products to famous faces, and it certainly won’t send them out early. Celebrities must wait until launch day just like you and I.
Fast Company reports that Apple is “skilled at saying “no” to people who only hear “yes”.” The highly secretive company would not confirm how it deals with the stars, but some of the stars themselves were happy to speak about their struggle to obtain Apple goods.
Shaquille O’Neal, an analyst for TNT and a former NBA star, reveals he begged Steve Jobs personally for the first iPhone, but Apple’s co-founder refused to give him one:
The great Steve Jobs, rest in peace, when the iPhone was first coming out, I used to call him every other day. Can I please get one first? Can I please get one first? He never gave me one. He said, ‘Shaq, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.’ He was a great guy.
Bradley Frank, a celebrity publicist with Rogers & Cowen, attempted to get the iPhone 4 early for his clients, but he had no joy:
When we shot the last Old Spice campaign with Isaiah Mustafa, Apple was shooting the iPad 2 campaign on the next sound studio. We tried to check it out, but it was like machine-gun guards, check-in at different stations. They had code names. It was like dealing with the CIA. Then they walked their asses right onto our set, and had no issue doing that. They just walked onto our set! We were like, ‘What are you doing? You can’t do that!’ And when the iPhone4 came out, I can’t tell you how many clients were like, ‘We need that early.’ And Apple’s like, ‘No.
Channing Frye, a forward for Phoenix Suns, has a cousin who works in marketing at Apple. But he can’t even get his hands on inside information:
My cousin works for Apple, in marketing. I bug her every day about what’s coming out. All she can say is, ‘What you have works perfectly fine.’ Literally, they are like a secret society–if I tell, I have to kill you. It’s just wild how they are so tight-lipped about everything.
Apple’s approach is of little surprise to us. The company is famously secretive about its unreleased products, and it certainly isn’t the type to bow down to a famous face.