In a special edition of The Economist Magazine, the managing director of Louis Roderer Cristal addressed the popularity of the sparkling wine brand amongst Hip-Hop artists. If you don't know, you can't watch an MTV hip-hop or R&B video without seeing "big pimpin'" rappers "ballin'" on camera with bottles of high-priced cognac and champagne. And shouting out the brandnames. For Free.
In an article titled "Bubbles & Bling" Frédéric Rouzaud, the managing director of Cristal, was less than thrilled at rappers' fondness for the posh drink.
"What can we do?" Rouzaud told The Economist. "We can't forbid people from buying it. I'm sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business."
The article further labeled the constant Cristal patronage by rappers as "unwelcome attention."
According to AmericanBrandstand.com, the pricey champagne was the 8th most mentioned brand on Billboard's Top 100 chart in 2005 with 35 mentions, being promoted by the likes of Kanye West, Trina, Lloyd Banks, The Game, Mariah Carey, and others.
AKI COMMENT: Whaddya do when a whole culture insists on name-checking your product (for free) in their songs, and pouring your product (for free) in music videos, and showcasing your product (for free) backstage and in the VIP Rooms at the club? Dang, what a big problem you've got. How many liquor brands have I worked for in my life that paid me to strategize some secret-sauce to get that magical hip-hop endorsement?
While I respect Cristal's dilemma - it ain't upper-crust when the 'hood is sippin' it outta plastic cups. I do think what you do firstly is DON'T COMMENT NEGATIVELY ON ANY CONSUMER PASSION, ANYWHERE, FROM ANYBODY. Sure, you can choose not to goose it - don't send a complimentary crate of the juice over to Snoop's house (you sure bout that, boss?). But getting on the mic and clowning consumer passion for your product just seems ill advised no matter how you cut it (remember, this is $600 joy juice, here).
This move is faulty particularly, when:
A)the cliche upper-crust consumer you think you sell to (let's call him Cadbury) has no clue about this subculture endorsement anyway, and
B)don't be fooled, Cadbury (if he is under 40) has all the CD's by these artists bumpin' in his Maybach (or at least his sons and daughters do) and he aspires just as much to the hip-hop fantasy as the 'hood aspires to the yachting lifestyle. Look closely at Paris Hilton's invite list, it ain't Bif and Muffy at her party, it's 50 Cent and Dr Dre posing in W Magazine in golf shirts on the lawn. And
C)you're dissing guys who are professional speakers, constantly played on radios, on tv, on mics, every nite, in every city, before packed crowds, globally...they can just as easily make your brand the butt of every rhyme, too. Why pick a fight?
Ironically, it is Cristal's type of blatant exclusionary snobbery that makes the hip-hop nation chase it for admission. It is quite possible this rebuke of "unwelcome attention" MAY NOT halt sales in the 'hood. Go figure...
Yet the fact that Cristal's dismissal may not affect hip-hop's demand is purely accidental on Cristal's part.
Consider smart brands like Louis Vuitton and Courvoisier who've recently learned to track in both spheres of influence. Their ads and initiatives have definitely gotten a shade "ghetto fabulous" and made the best of an unstoppable train. Consider, too, the 'hood is gonna purchase pirate product or purchase some near-lux copycat brand with, or without you. Well, why let pirates get paid off of your brand? Put J-Lo and Busta on. Gloss 'em up and get paid off of a good thing that you never saw coming. Money spends no matter who is giving it - work with it, don't fight it.
Share ideas that inspire. FALLON PLANNERS (and co-conspirators) are freely invited to post trends, commentary, obscure ephemera and insightful rants regarding the experience of branding.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Posted by AKI SYSTEMS 2600 at 6/08/2006 08:28:00 AM