Just five years ago, Sean “Diddy” Combs asked Busta Rhymes to “pass the Courvoisier.” These days, it’s all about the vodka.
The 37-year-old hip-hop mogul has inked a multiyear deal to develop the Ciroc vodka brand — one of Diageo PLC’s superpremium lines — for a 50-50 share in the profits.
It’s the latest agreement in which a celebrity is going beyond the typical endorser role to share in a brand’s rise and fall, such as Jay-Z with Budweiser and 50 Cent with Vitamin Water.
Diageo said the agreement could be worth more than $100 million for Combs over the course of the deal, depending on how well the brand performs. “It is not an endorsement deal,” Combs says. “This is something that will have my daily attention.”
Combs said he wanted to work with Diageo because the company understood that “I’m not just a celebrity endorser, I’m a brand builder. I’m a luxury brand builder.”
Combs said he will be responsible for everything from marketing the brand to deciding where to sell it, and will focus on attracting “movers and shakers” to the line.
“They’re looking for something that tastes like their lifestyle,” he said. “It’s that trendsetter, that hipster, someone who’s looking for luxury and looking for something better.”
Combs already has his own perfume and clothing line, and serves as chief executive of record company Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment.
“I can’t overhype someone into loving vodka,” he said. But once consumers actually taste Ciroc, “I think we can convert a lot of people.”
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