Like it or not, getting a celebrity to front your product is one of the most effective methods in garnering buzz, fans and revenue. And not always, but generally in that order. Not just any celebrity will do, of course, but if a brand can find just the right one, as both Cîroc and Malibu did in Diddy and Ne-Yo, respectively, the returns on that initial investment begin to show quickly. In the research for our recently-released Digital IQ Index: Spirits report, liquor brands often tap celebrities to promote their products in print, TV and digital ads. On average, celebrities reference their spirit affiliation in just three percent of their Tweets. Celebrities who have a creative stake in the development and selling of the brands they rep, however, mention their affiliation in close to nine percent of Tweets, a significant boost.
The brand ambassador who best represents this trend is rapper Diddy, who has been extremely influential in Cîroc vodka’s success since he joined the creative team in 2007. Since the partnership began, the brand has seen its yearly case volume increase from 400,000 to more than two million. But it’s not just Diddy’s presence in the vodka’s sleek TV spots and print ads that has made the difference; the rapper has taken to his own personal Twitter account (with a community of more than nine million) to sing Cîroc’s praises–a strategy that has also helped build the brand’s official account, which increased its followers by 35 percent last year alone. Cîroc has so much faith in their celeb shiller that the French company has given Diddy complete creative control of advertising, as well as a sizable portion of the brand’s net revenue.
On the heels of the Cîroc-Diddy success, popular coconut rum distiller Malibu tapped R&B artist Ne-Yo to serve as creative director of its new rum-tequila hybrid liqueur, Malibu Red. To tease the product’s launch, Ne-Yo produced a song and music video, “Burnin Up,” which quickly became the most popular upload on Malibu Rum’s channel with more than a half a million views and 2,000 likes since it was released last April. Though it is too soon to assess Ne-Yo’s impact on Malibu Red’s sales volume, from a buzz perspective alone, the partnership looks to be on the right track.
For more on our 2013 Digital IQ Index: Spirits report, click here.