And, naturally, celebrity power is in-
creasingly being tapped for new product
launches. One recent example is LeSutra.
Grammy-winning producer Timbaland is
an owner of the line of sparkling liqueurs,
and his high-profile support is intended
to draw some of the attention going to
rival brand Nuvo, whose rapper-backers
include T-Pain, Jeremih, Wale, Pusha T
and Lloyd Banks.
In a blend of established brand and
new product, Usher was a partner for the
launch of Belvedere RED in 2011. Simi-
larly, R&B crooner Ne-Yo helped launch
Malibu Red—a fusion of rum and tequila;
the collaboration included a custom song
and video, supported by social media.
tapping the Fan Base
Celebrity endorsements can be as much
about targeting a specific fan base as they
are about publicizing the liquid in the
bottle. Star power may be just the right
thing to draw attention to both a category
and a brand. For instance, when Bacardi
launched the Bacardi Light ready-to-serve
cocktails, they collaborated with actress
Busy Philipps, aiming to attract her vi-
brant and loyal female following. And Jim
Beam Bourbon tapped into the passionate
fan base of live music by sponsoring a
series of six concerts in 2012 (Kid Rock,
Daughtry, David Gray, Darius Rucker,
Bush and Train). In addition, Beam col-
laborated with Kid Rock on several proj-
ects, raising funds for Operation Home-
front, which provides support for families
of American troops.
TY KU Saké has taken aim at mul-
tiple audiences, enlisting diverse support
from Bravo’s “Millioinaire Matchmaker,”
Patti Stanger; Intenet gossipmonger Perez
Hilton; and well-known singer and
judge CeeLo Green. “The percep-
tion of saké is that you can only drink it
in certain locations or specific ways,” says
brand co-owner CeeLo. “It’s my mission
to show how saké is a progressive cocktail
for the modern trendsetter. It’s versatile,
low calorie, all natural, accessible and will
make you stand out at a party.”
Vodka as a category needs no intro-
duction to Americans, but in aiming to
increase their share of the low-calorie seg-
ment of the the vodka pie, marketers of
Voli brought both Fergie and Pitbull on
board. Erin Harris, EVP of marketing and
public relations for Voli Spirits, notes that
Fergie and Pitbull each bring something
different to the table: “Fergie—who stays
fit and owns the social scene—knows how
to balance all aspects of life and represents
the Voli brand perfectly,” says Harris. “Pit-
bull, with his charisma and musical sense,
is a force within the Latin market and has
a large female demographic.”
Perhaps a taste of more to come, ad
campaigns featuring multiple celebs have
picked up just within the past year. Hen-
nessy’s “Wild Rabbit” campaign features
Martin Scorsese, Erykah Badu and Man-
ny Pacquiao. Each person’s “wild rabbit”
is what inspires them, keeps them mo-
tivated and drives them. The campaign
consists of print ads, billboards, instal-
lations, QR codes and Web marketing.
Johnnie Walker’s “My Label is Black” is
both an ad campaign and outreach pro-
gram designed to celebrate the Hispanic
community and inspire men to achieve
their true potential. The ads feature Don
Omar, Jorge Posada and Alex Sensation;
events and charitable partnerships are set
in key markets such as New York, Miami
and Los Angeles.
Dressed as a mermaid at a Halloween
party she hosted, Kim Kardashian’s turn
as a spokesperson for Midori got plenty of
play via print and social media.
eal Housewives of New York
star Bethenny Frankel struck
gold with her Skinnygirl ready-
to-serve cocktails. She sold to
Beam Global in 2010 and the brand has
since expanded way beyond the original
low-cal margarita. Now, branded wines/
spirits seem practically contagious
among the TV housewives.
In the case of Frankel’s
star Ramona Singer, her relationship with
a type of wine preceded her connection to
a brand. The transition was quite natural,
explains Claudia Cogan, brand manager
at Opici Wine Company. “Ramona Singer
became synonymous with Pinot Grigio,
regularly seen sipping it on the show,”
says Cogan. “Fans would approach her
asking if she preferred a specific one, but
she never really had an answer. She saw
this opportunity and seized it, coming to
Opici with a proposal.”
Over in New Jersey, Teresa Guidice
launched Fabellini, a pre-mixed Bellini in
two flavors; and Kathy Wakile launched
Red Velvet Cosmo, a pre-mixed cos-
mopolitan based on the flavors in red
velvet cake. Down in Atlanta, three Real
Housewives have gone mad for Moscato:
NeNe Leakes (Miss Moscato), Cynthia
Bailey (P.T. Rosé Moscato) and Kim
Zolciak (Viva Diva Moscato). In LA, Vicki
Gunvalson and Tamra Barney went a dif-
ferent route, starting a wine club, “Wines
by Wives.”
Will these housewives put up num-
bers approaching Skinnygirl? Maybe not,
but they can be solid sellers. With a Pinot
Grigio released in 2011 and red blend in
2012, Ramona has become a 15,000-
case brand, distributed nationally.
real house-wines?
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