There has been both love and hate for celebrities who dip into the alcohol market. There are several different avenues that celebrities can take to be a part of this industry. We wanted to share our research on the benefits and the downfalls of joining forces with a celebrity on a brand.
Let’s first talk about the standard attachment; A celebrity as the face of an alcohol brand.
How Does Having a Celebrity Attached to a Wine or Spirits Brand Help?
We spoke to a friend in the entertainment industry who chose to remain anonymous when giving us this quote:
“These smaller boutique brands don’t have the money to promote their products that they’ve been crafting their entire lives. Many of these are master distillers or winemakers who are trying to find a way to get their products into the correct markets. They could be great products, just not getting noticed. When they find a larger distributor for their products, these distributors may find connections with celebrities to promote the brand. The real people in the industry know who made the product and know if it’s a good product. It’s another form of marketing that gets their work noticed.”
The idea behind these alcohol brands is that it’s a marketing tactic. You are getting a high quality product, it just doesn’t have the clout. Many of these distillers are not savvy with social media or they don’t have the knowledge on marketing, so this is a quick way to help raise their product to the top. We still get to taste a great product, made by a hardworking winemaker or distiller, just with the face of a celebrity to whom we can relate.
What about Another Form of Celebrity Alcohol Endorsement? Don’t They Actually Have Their Own Brands That are Made in Their Style?
We spoke to a celebrity herself about her brand Spade and Sparrows. Yes, we’re talking about the fabulous Kaitlyn Bristowe. Kaitlyn started Spade and Sparrows as a wine brand to make some of her favorite wines. The spade and the sparrow are symbols of family. The spade stands for the cards she would play with her mother who always drank wine and taught her about wine from a young age. The sparrow is a bird she always was fond of and even has two sparrows tattooed on her arm. They’re known for being the birds that always flew home, no matter how far they went.
When Kaitlyn said she wanted to make her own wine brand, it only made sense. She already had a podcast, “Off the Vine,” where she spilled tea while drinking delicious wines with fun celebrity and influential guests, and she has a dog named Pinot. Her goal was not to be another celebrity face on a bottle of wine, she had genuine interest in wine, and as most wine proprietors do, she wanted to share her story and her love for wine through making wines she enjoyed.
Being a contestant on ABC’s The Bachelor and becoming ABC’s Bachelorette herself, along with her appearance on Dancing with the Stars, absolutely helped her rise to fame. And with that fame, she had pull. Starting a wine company and already having the momentum in the press, Kaitlyn was able to make Spades and Sparrows a real success.
Does she make the wine herself with her bare hands? No. But she tells you that. She’s not a sommelier or extremely knowledgeable in wine, she just did her research, found what she liked, and found a team to help her make her dream a reality. And the fact that she’s transparent about it makes us want to support her brand even more! A true combination of passion and business marketing.
So How Does the Millennial Consumer React to Celebrity Alcohol Endorsements?
We asked some of our social media followers about their thoughts on celebrity endorsed alcohol brands. 96% of those in our study said that they would not buy a brand specifically because they were backed by a celebrity. We asked them about their thoughts on celebrity endorsements of alcoholic beverages.
Here’s what they said:
“It’s fine to me so long as they’re not appropriating cultures or if it’s a blatant cash grab.”Adam Rodriquez, @Chateaucashflow
“If it’s a passion for them, I certainly respect that –I mean follow your dreams, right?! But is it more or less likely to make me buy the wine [or spirit]…no. Maybe slightly towards less likely, unless I’ve tasted it and liked it.”Kristy Wentz, @Kristys_winetravels
“I mean, if I had celebrity money, maybe I’d start one too. But as a consumer, I don’t think it would lure me in on its own because there are so many other brands with true heritage. If a celebrity ties the story to the brand though, that can be really interesting. I just hope Sammy Hagar doesn’t take offense because his Cabo Tequila is Really Good!”Paul Deutsch, @pauldeutsch
“At the beginning, they have it easy, but in the long term, they need to engage their audience”@carogonz6
Celebrity endorsements can get a brand’s foot in the door. With the clout of the celebrity, the press will want to hear the story of their new brand. This is the great part about attaching to a celebrity. But as this market gets more and more saturated, it’s the quality of the product, its story, and it’s longevity as a hit brand that’s going to make it respected by consumers and get them excited to purchase it. Consumers want to see that the person attached to the brand is actually attached to it.
This all comes back to truthful and honest passion and excitement for the product and its story by the celebrity, a continually approachable and appealing marketing strategy, and, at the end of the day, if it’s a good product.