Campari has been producing star-studded
calendars for more than a decade; 2013’s
“Kissing Superstition Goodbye” features
Penelope Cruz, photographed in Milan.
Like may current ads and promotional
campaigns, the Campari calendars get
extra exposure online.
Actor Sam Neill owns Two Paddocks
estate winery in Central Otago, New
Zealand. Italy’s Bocelli family, known
worldwide for the opera success of tenor
Andrea, has actually been making wine
in Tuscany for more than a century; their
wines just recently debuted in the U.S.
Italy was also the origin for an eponymous
line of wines by Oscar-nominated actress
Lorraine Bracco. And Ben Flajnik, per-
haps better known as
the celebrity-wine formula inside-out—
he and two partners created Envolve in
Sonoma before he became a reality TV
So many celebrities have gotten into
the wine/spirits act that it has become
hard to keep track. Mötley Crüe frontman
Vince Neil has produced wine (Vince
Vineyards) as well as Tatuado Tequila and
Vodka. Other bands/musicians going the
wine route include Mick Fleetwood, Kiss,
Bob Dylan (Planet Waves), Simply Red’s
Mick Hucknall (Il Cantante), Lil Jon
(Little Jonathan), Tool’s Maynard James
Keenan (Caduceus), Train (Save Me,
San Francisco), even Elvis Presley and
Celebrity fashion icons are tossing
their hats into the wine or spirits ring, too.
And why not? Great-looking bottles will
never go out of style. Jean-Paul Gault-
ier designed a “corset” bottle for Piper-
Heidsieck. Gianfranco Ferré dressed up
Frescobaldi Brunello for the Millennium.
Christian Audigier licensed his tattoo-
esque Ed Hardy brand for a line of wine.
Roberto Cavalli now has his own vodka.
And John Varvatos designed a special
bottle stopper for Patrón Tequila.
Of course, no roundup of celebrity
wine would be complete without mention
of Marilyn Monroe, whose iconic
beauty and fortuitous adopted surname
posthumouosly made Marilyn Merlot a
fan-driven collectible. Will there ever be
another? Probably not. But Hollywood
stars now seem more inclined than ever
to test their wine chops. Witness Drew
Barrymore and Fergie. Both are acutely
cognizant that their names needed to
be part of the package, literally. The
red blend from Ferguson Crest is called
“Fergalicious.” And Drew’s first wine,
a Pinot Grigio from northern Italy,
features the Barrymore family crest on
o, now that the wine and spirits
industry is getting accustomed to the
idea of celebrity endorsement in multiple
categories, the question becomes how
best to translate star power into sales.
Here are some points to keep in mind:
Know what’s what even if you don’t
know who’s who.
Celebrity culture is
powerful but not universal. Different
generations, different ethnicities and dif-
ferent interests determine which “stars”
sparkle for different individuals. While it
makes little sense to stock every available
celebri-brand, it is imperative that when
you do, the whole staff should be aware
of the relevant connection (because it’s
not always on the bottle).
Signage can help move product.
marketers are ready and able to support
celebrity-linked brands with POS material
(ask your distributor). If not, especially
in cases where the star behind the liquid
is not apparent, you can and should cre-
ate your own signage. It may help spur
impulse sales among shoppers who are
fans of certain stars/genres but were
unaware of the links.
Eye candy is still important.
bottles act like stars in their own right.
For example, bottles of Patrón Tequila
featuring the guitar head bottle stopper
designed by menswear mogul John
Varvatos are just screaming to be
displayed. Catchy bottles in a front
window can grab the eye of folks who
may not necessarily want that wine or
spirit, but will be enticed inside by
selling star power
Co-founded by music Grammy-winning
super-producer Timbaland, LeSutra is a
line of four 15% ABV sparkling liqueurs,
launched just last September.