Entertainment and technology have always gone hand-in-hand. That association is getting even closer this week, now that Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) has hired Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am for its newly created "director of creative innovation" position.

Yeah, I don't know what's in the water at Intel's headquarters, either. First the chipmaker buys security-software specialist McAfee (NYSE: MFE), and now this. Has the company forgotten that it designs and manufactures computer processors for a living?

To be fair, Intel is not the first tech giant to reach into the entertainment world. You may have seen TV commercials pushing Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) laptops featuring Beats Audio by rap legend Dr. Dre, for example. Perhaps Microsoft set the stage for all this cross-cultural work when the Rolling Stones helped Redmond introduce Windows 95 and its groundbreaking start menu. (Worst. Pun. Ever.)

Perhaps Intel has actual business reasons for tapping the talents of award-winning musician and producer Will.i.am. The man claims to have a passion for technology, and he clearly knows something about both entertainment and marketing. Maybe Intel needs his advice in order to become cool with the younger generation. After all, since the days of Pentium, microprocessors have become more about marketing than the back-and-forth performance battles between Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD).

But still, the branding wins of Intel past could be fading. High-school kids today couldn't care less about "Intel Inside," because they were never around to experience that branding campaign in its heyday. "It’s imperative that Intel and our innovations are kept in front of the global youth culture that embraces new devices and new forms of communication and entertainment," says Intel's Chief Marketing Officer, Deborah Conrad.

Is this Intel staying in touch with American youth, or just an aging company forgetting its rightful place in the world? Discuss all the shades of gray in between; the comments box awaits below.

Intel and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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