Since the beginning of hip-hop, rappers have had a tremendous impact on the culture of America. On purpose or not, when big hip-hop artists associate themselves with a brand or product the brand/product often becomes validated and sales jump. Run -DMC- Adidas, N.W.A.- Raiders Starter Jackets and Hats, Most 90s rappers- Tommy Hilfiger and Timberlands, Busta Rhymes-Courvosier, 50 Cent-Vitamin Water, etc.
The perfect storm of hip-hop influence, branding, and smart use of social media has occurred with Diddy’s promotion of Ciroc. I’ve had the coconut flavored Ciroc aka “Cocoloso”, and it is an outstanding drink. So, of course, we must not forget that quality will always win. However, without Diddy most people wouldn’t have ever heard of Ciroc.
Diddy took over as the Chief Marketing Officer of Ciroc in 2007, and sales increased 552% from 2007 to 2010. Ciroc is now the number-two selling brand in the ultra-premium vodka category. The vodka is marketed to the younger hip-hop crowd ( you would think that is mostly a black audience, but in reality it is white) that shouldn’t have the disposable income to use Ciroc( cost of around $36 for 750 ml) as their first choice to drink throughout the night on a regular basis. When people drink Ciroc they get a taste of Diddy’s life, even if they have nothing in common with him except for drinking Ciroc. Puff Daddy( I will use many of his names in this post) has created an image for Ciroc that people want to associate themselves with.
P. Diddy has been considered a big-time influencer since he started Bad Boy Records back in the day. People like to copy the way he dresses, talks, and acts. “Swag” is an overused term, but Diddy has been the definition of it for years. His fashion company Sean John has been a huge success, he has sold millions of records, and he has over 3.8 million followers on Twitter. He also has a relentless work ethic and competitive drive, so it would seem like a no-brainer for companies to want to do business with him.
The use of Twitter has been Mr. Comb’s greatest marketing tool for Ciroc. He retweets pictures of his followers with Ciroc , has clever viral videos, and names people “Ciroc Boyz” and “Ciroc girls”. Basically, he makes people feel apart of his crew by drinking the vodka, and if you are drinking another vodka you are not cool. With Diddy’s persistant use of Twitter I had to try Ciroc, at least to form my own opinion. I’m sure with a lot of people it was the same way. That in itself is successful branding. The quality of the product will take care of the rest.