Musicians and alcohol go hand in hand. A song by a musician can immortalise a drink and place it in the minds of their listeners forever. Here are some lyrics that will live inside my head forever:
“I’ll fake it through the day with some help from Johnnie Walker red…” (Elliott Smith)
“Rolling up a fatty, but the Tanqueray straight had me…” (Luniz)
and my personal favourite:
“Now you and me can drink some Hennessy/then we get it on
Mad women wantin to bone Sean Combs/sippin on Patron” (P. Diddy)
In an analysis of popular US music songs between 2005 and 2007, 20% of songs made explicit references to alcohol, and 25% of these songs mentioned a specific brand. The top three brands were Patron tequila, Grey Goose vodka, and Hennessy cognac, accounting for 65% of references overall. (Primack, Nuzzo, Rice & Sergent, 2011)
Songs featuring brands made strong aspirational connections between alcohol and themes such as wealth, sex, luxury objects, partying, drugs, and vehicles.
Effectively, these songs are mini adverts, giving the listener positive feelings, associations, while promoting specific brands of alcohol. As previous blogs have mentioned, for sexual imagery and celebrity tie-ins to be effective, the product have to be congruent with the message, and what could be more congruent than the partying musician enjoying his favourite luxury brand of alcohol?
One example of the effectiveness of brand promotion in songs is the 18.9% increase in sales seen by Courvoisier following Busta Rhymes release of “Pass the Courvoisier”, the song at the top of this blog.
This got me thinking that a great way for companies to build their brands and increase sales would be increased integration with musicians. Perhaps promoting specific brands within the music community would help capitalise on the positive associations that being referenced in mainstream songs can bring.
One example would be The JD Set – the series of gigs Jack Daniel’s ran between 2002 and 2011 to promote and bring a serious of one-off, unique collaborations between artists. Tickets were always hard to come by, and you either needed to know the right people, or win a competition to get in, but it was always a great show.
Another incredibly effective example of a brand/musician collaboration is the partnership of entertainment kingpin/sometimes rapper P. Diddy and beverage titans Diageo, who in 2007 became 50/50 partners in the Ciroc brand of premium vodka.
Prior to Diddy’s involvement, the brand’s USP was that it was one of the only vodkas on the market made from grapes. The problem with promoting the brand according to Jon Dobbin, a senior member of the brand’s agency was that: “That whole grape story just didn’t work, because nobody really cared.”
The results speak for themselves. Since the “Diddy merger” in 2007, up to 2010 the brand has grown 552%, and Ciroc has become the number 2 ultra premium vodka in the world. There’s no doubt that P. Diddy’s celebrity and promotional credentials have helped convert younger, affluent consumers with his celebrity contacts and aspirational messages, exemplified in adverts like this:
The brand has also branched out into flavoured vodkas, and if you made it this far, here’s a fun little Ciroc advert featuring Aziz Ansari and Diddy promoting the range (albeit still peppered with aspirational messages and positive associations throughout):