Last week Diddy (formerly known as Puff Daddy and P Diddy) twitted:
»Dont drink the peepee! Drink TIGERBLOOD!! Redberry Ciroc+Cranberry Juice«
If you don't know what it's all about, you probably missed the biggest celebrity story of the last couple of months. American actor Charlie Sheen was fired from his role on Two and a Half Men because of his continuous problems with drug addiction and his criticism of the show creator Chuck Lorre (Sheen was accused of anti-Semitism). During the two weeks of media frenzy Sheen gave several interviews and coined some new words that became an instant hit on social media, e.g. Tigerblood, winning, Warlocks, …
Charlie Sheen also inspired several small production companies to invent new drinks, for example an energy drink called Tigerblood, but Diddy soon followed with his idea of a Tigerblood cocktail, which included Red Berry Ciroc vodka and cranberry juice.
Why is that cocktail so interesting? Diddy is a promoter (or frontman) of the Ciroc vodka brand. Ciroc is owned by Diageo, a global alcoholic beverages company and the world's largest producer of spirits. In exchange for a 50-50 split of the profits on Ciroc sales, his company Sean Combs Enterprises handles the brand’s marketing, including branding and positioning for the vodka, product placement and public relations.
Ciroc is a brand of distilled beverage manufactured in France and marketed as vodka. It was introduced by Diageo in into the “ultra premium” vodka market. Its point of difference is that it's derived from grapes as opposed to other vodkas which are made from corn, rye, wheat or potatoes.
Cooperation between Diageo and Diddy yielded spectacular results. According to the article from Financial Times (from October 2010) in the first six months of 2007, before Diddy signed on, Diageo sold 60,000 cases of Ciroc. The following year sales grew to approximately 169,000 and in the next year to 400,000 cases. In 2010 sales apparently rose by another 48 per cent.[capti
Diddy achieved those results with clever and aggressive marketing. During his reign Ciroc became the official vodka of New Year’s Eve and he also introduced two new flavours: Red Berry and Coconut. Very important part of his marketing activities is product placement, especially in music videos. On the picture above you can see Ciroc vodka from Dr. Dre’s music video for the song Kush.
Ciroc could be seen in the latest Lil Wayne's video for the song 6’7 and in Usher's video for the song Lil Freak, but for me the most interesting product placement occured in 2009, when American indie pop band Chester French released a mixtape on the internet, called Jacques Jams, Vol 1: Endurance. One of the songs was also Ciroc Star, recorded with DJ Clinton Sparks and Diddy. It is interesting because it includes the brand name in the title of the song and also in the lyrics: »From the back of the cop car to a Ciroc star, the world's best premium vodka.«
That kind of product placement is rare in the music industry. The first or let's say the most significant one happened in 2002 when American rapper Busta Rhymes released the song Pass the Courvoisier. In the song he rapped about different alcohol brands, but gave the biggest credit to Courvoisier, a brand of cognac.
Below you can see the music video for the Ciroc Star and literally thousands of scenes with Ciroc vodka. The video looks more like an ad than a proper music video. Well, you have to see it for yourself.
The sales data shows us that Diddy can be a successful brand manager with a lot of clever ideas and solutions. Product placement is just one of the ways to promote your brand and I believe that he hasn’t used all of its potential yet. I expect to see Ciroc vodka in some high profile music videos very soon.