Star Power Booze


Celebrity endorsed or owned liquor products, with a few notable exceptions, nearly always fail. So why do these products keep coming out?

This subject was first covered in an August 21, 2010 posting but the line up of recent new efforts makes it worth re-exploring.

Let’s start with those that seem to have made it.

Top of the list is P Diddy and Ciroc. The brand started life without him but, with him, it has gone through the roof. He has a following and, with an interest in the brand, his marketing has paid off. Next up is Sobieski, with a Bruce Willis connection. He licensed his image for which he received shares in the parent company. Is it Willis or the attractive price point that has made the brand strong?

Then there is Bethenny Frankle and Skinny Girl. And, let’s not forget Dan Akroyd and Crystal Head.

Lots of “maybes” out there still. But the list of failed booze products with celebrity ownership/tie-in is large. Donald Trump, Ludacris, Roberto Cavalli, Willie Nelson, Danny DeVito, Marilyn Manson, Justin Timberlake, Frida Kahlo  – just to name a few.

So, Dear Reader, you might ask – why do they keep coming? Here are a few on the horizon:

Just when you thought you had enough of Psy and Gangnam-style stuff (wishing it would go the way of the Macarena), along comes a Russian company called Woobo International. They reportedly plan to use the phrase “Oppah, Gangnam-Style” to promote a brand of vodka in Russia. Huh?

images (9)How about this one? The LA Times and the NY Post reported last month that Shaquille O’Neal plans to start his own vodka. The booze is named “Luv Shaq.” The bottles will be emblazoned with images of a winged O’Neal, and are being produced in partnership with Devotion Vodka. “Luv Shaq?” Really?

The one I’m not laughing about involves George Clooney. I found this in the NY Post recently –

“Longtime friends George Clooney and Rande Gerber are going on a road trip to launch their own spirit brand, Casamigos Tequila. We’ve exclusively learned the pair have teamed up with Discovery Land Company’s Mike Meldman to meet with high-end spirit executives nationwide.”

Hopefully, what’s in the bottle will be as important as who owns it.

Undoubtedly, there will be more to come in 2013. And, failures will abound. When will the stars learn that in the booze business, it’s as much about the product as about them? Think about the uniqueness of Ciroc or the Skinny Girl proposition or the packaging of Crystal Head.

My advice — if you want to go into the booze business, your name alone is not enough.

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