Jay-Z might have been one of the first celebrities to buy into the drink brand industry, having mentioned Armand de Brignac Brut Gold champagne in one of his more popular songs. In fact, this happened all the way back in 2006, and since then, the drinks industry has only become more crowded with celebrities that want to cash in their chips.
The high-end tequila market has many household celebrities that it could name drop, including Michael Jordan and George Clooney. In fact, it’s getting so crowded that celebrities are starting to battle it out for a stake in the market.
Rising Trend is Seeing More Celebrities Get on Board
This rising trend is seeing more and more celebrities jump on the big drinks brand bandwagon, as they continue to look out for what people are going to want and where they think their money is well spent.
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Diageo bought Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin brand and three others for an eye-watering $610 million. It wasn’t that long ago that they bought George Clooney’s Casamigos tequila for $1 billion, so it appeared that they were just getting started.
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Casamigos a Success, Despite the Price Tag
Despite the whopping $1 billion that Diageo spent on Casamigos, it has been lucrative for them, explains Trevor Stirling, an analyst for Bernstein. Mr. Stirling explains that there was a lot of critical comment and cynicism around Casamigos when it first came up. However, by the time Aviation was brought to the table, the success of Casamigos had investors thinking a bit more optimistically.
Ken Austin, who has worked with Connor McGregor and Dwayne Johnson on celebrity big drink brands, says that it’s important that brands provide a degree of authenticity to the landscape in the age of social media.
He says that it was all about endorsements by people that you trusted and looked up to in the past. Now, it’s all about finding people who fans can relate to and trust for good recommendations on drinks companies.
This also means that the partnership must come across as authentic and amicable.
Some Partnerships didn’t Go as Planned
Unfortunately, just like with any other industry, not every partnership ended in sunshine and rainbows. Bruce Willis endorsed Sobieski and became an invested partner. However, soon after, the French group filed for bankruptcy protection, which means that they could not pay Willis what he was due for the marketing work that he did.
While the dispute was eventually settled, they still continued to see a decline in their sales. In contrast, however, Ryan Reynolds backing Aviation in 2018 actually helped to revive a tired, worn-out brand.
Gin Once Considered “Old-Person’s Drink”
Gin, in general, is considered an older person’s drink, especially in the states. However, the fact that Ryan Reynolds is now the face of Aviation has completely turned it on its head, as younger people look up to celebrities like him, explained Mr. Stirling.
He continued by saying that successful partnerships often needed a celebrity that was not only professional but shrewd. The company still had to do a lot of the heavy lifting behind the scenes. The key to success is finding a celebrity that would partake in the product, but wouldn’t go overboard and ruin the refined image.
Mr. McGregor hasn’t done too many favors for the whiskey brand that he endorses, as he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in 2018. So, while not all partnerships go as planned, in general, it’s proving to be a lucrative market.