No, this isn’t an article announcing Clint Eastwood’s new whiskey (although how cool would that article title be!). I initially planned to discuss how celebrity-owned/endorsed liquors chew up the marketplace and make it hard for the little guys. But then I got to thinking, what’s the big deal? There are some celebrity booze brands that die a sad lonely death and others that prosper and get sold to even larger conglomerates (doesn’t it warm your heart when a millionaire becomes a multi-millionaire?). Instead, I reevaluated a few celebrity liquor brands and realized there was a little bit of everything – the good, the bad and the very ugly. Here is how I break it down…
On January 8, it was announced that Sean “P. Diddy” Combes would partner again with Diageo to bring to life DeLeón Tequila, a high end 100% blue weber agave Tequila that ranges in price from $120 to more than $1,000 per bottle (can anyone say 1%?). This is the second venture between Diageo and Combes after they launched Cîroc Vodka in 2007, which subsequently rose to a 2-million case brand. Combes back on board is invaluable for Diageo (which lost Jose Cuervo last year), helping to increase sales of the teeny, tiny tequila brand. This is a good, perhaps great partnership for Diageo taking an excellent, super premium tequila – a category that is still seeing great demand in the U.S. – backed by the luxury face of Combes, a proven entitiy. Given these fun ads for Cîroc (come on, who DOESN’T want to party with Diddy and his pals in Vegas?!), the potential for DeLeón is exciting! Plus, anything has to be better than what George Clooney and Rande Gerber came up with for their ad for Casamigos Tequila (George, please forgive me!).
Diageo initially partnered with Pharrell Williams to create Q Qream Liqueur back in 2011 to be a liquor women love (check out his “indulgent” video concept with Robin Thicke to help launch the brand – bad). While the cream, or rather, qream, liqueur came out with mixed reviews (obviously geared more towards the ladies), about the only reason the brand has been in the news of late is surrounding nasty allegations resulting in a $5 million lawsuit. Williams claims Diageo did not hold up their end of the bargain, failing to promote the liqueur and generate enough sales. Diageo clearly wanted another luxury, star-studded brand, but Qream just couldn’t live up, resulting in bad sales and even worse press.
Honestly, Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Skull Vodka, which came out in 2007, is not that bad. This is a product out of Canada, like the actor, which has been filtered through, you guessed it, diamonds (luxury anyone?). While the vodka is perfectly palatable with decent ratings, there has been some weird, even perhaps ugly, details surrounding the launch (the promo ad from Aykroyd). Regardless of the product, the backdrop of 13 crystal heads and UFOs leaves us all a little freaked out. And then last week, Akroyd launched a new and improved rendering of the skull, and it’s just ugly.
What’s your take on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of celebrity liquor brands out there? Try them for yourself, but if you want to avoid the worst possible hangover, watch this clip from Jezebel. Cheers!