I just saw this Swizz Beats announcement and I have mixed feelings about this. Obviously we're committed to the ideals of Lotus engineering and racing heritage, but at the end of the day some new buyers have to get hooked.
Here's my logic: I'm a young medical doctor with a healthy income. All my friend-colleagues are graduates of around the same few years. Within a year or two, all of them went out and bought a fancy sports car. We all went from leased Wranglers and Honda Accords to several 911s, one Nissan GTR, an Audi R8, even a Ferrari California. I'm the only one with a Lotus (Elise SC). Not one of those guys even considered a Lotus, simply because it's not ubiquitous. Several of them asked me where I would even go to buy it or service it (one dealer in the city, not even a dedicated Lotus dealer).
Granted, these guys are not true car guys - most of them bought their cars because of pent up need to conspicuously consume after a decade of debt and living like poor students (except for the leased cars) and because after you go from broke to a few hundred thousand a year you feel like you're on top of the world. However, some of them are now tracking their cars twice-weekly and they're starting to look at Lotus more seriously - I've been asked to lend the car to go tracking, and one is considering an Evora now when the lease on the 911 is up (next year). Had I not brought the example, none of them would have even heard of Lotus, let alone considered it.
They're all white and well-to-do at this point, and most of them are into hiphop - not just who sings what song, but they read about these rappers' lives, where they live, what they drive, etc. I'd say there's definitely an influence, not because they idolize these rappers and want to emulate them, but more because the cars are brought to their attention in the first place.
Swizz Beats is not the most famous or popular rapper in the world, we all know that. He's a bit unique though, in that he sort of permeates lots of different rap genres and raps, produces, and every now and again nails a big hit (that song with Drake "Fancy" played all the time on satellite radio earlier in the year). He's also going the way of Kanye West and Pharell, in other words dropping the blingy showy clothes and jewelery and adopting a more sophisticated, relaxed style. In those photos look at his watch - rose gold Tonneau on a leather strap. Very discrete for a rapper.
Anyways, I don't know if anything I wrote made any sense, but I think this sort of thing is necessary to get young well-to-do guys into Lotus (to translate into sales and money for the company). You need exposure above all, and Lotus is suffering from lack of it, at least here in Montreal. A brand ambassador is not a bad thing, at least you'll hook a few and maybe they can graduate to a true appreciation of the engineering rather than just lust over the lines of an Evora because it reminds them of a Ferrari or Lamborghini.