Snoop, T.I., Ludacris: Who’ll Win The Cognac Battle?
If there was a standard issue emergency kit for most rappers, it’d include a notepad and pen (or perhaps a Blackberry), a bag of weed, chicken and turkey-based meals (no pork or red meat), a pack of Magnums and of course, a bottle of cognac. Rappers have long smartened up to endorsing products they have no stake in, and the once-aspirational item of cognac happens to be the next big thing.
The most recent announcement came from Snoop Dogg, who yesterday revealed he’s teaming up with LANDY Cognac in a “marketing partnership.” According to the press release, Snoop will appear at select LANDY events and promotions, and will feature LANDY at numerous after-parties (the new promotional image above may need some re-working; the word “swagger” was dead and buried a while ago).
“The partnership between LANDY and Snoop Dogg creates the perfect platform to launch LANDY’S affordable luxury product,” says Stephen Lewin, Senior Vice President, General Manager, Spirits Division at LANDY/WJD. “Snoop Dogg epitomizes confidence, innovation and is known to be the life of the party, making him the ideal choice to partner with LANDY Cognac—a brand that mirrors these characteristics.”
T.I. was recently given the fancy title of Global Creative Consultant for Remy Martin. The partnership between the brand and the artist includes collaborative projects and a focus on continuing the philanthropic works of Tip’s K.I.N.G. Foundation. T.I. also announced he’ll be creating his own blend of cognac, saying “I’ve been a fan of Remy Martin for many years so I’m honored to be working with them as creative consultant. And now after my trip to Cognac [France], I admire the brand’s genius even more. I’m excited about all the possibilities of this partnership.”
Ludacris has taken things one step further by launching his very own brand of cognac, Conjure. With non-stop promotion across the country, Luda’s first foray into the market is serious; he’s involved in all aspects of the product’s development and marketing. During the cognac’s blending process, Luda flew to France to meet the family behind his new drink and agreed to be part of the selection process. He says, “The family has been in business since 1887. We blended this thing; there’s about 13 different cognacs I had to choose from.” He’s endorsed the product all over the place, even appearing on TV shows like Martha Stewart making apple crumb cake with Conjure.
The brand synonymous with cognac drinking in the US, Hennessy (also the oldest cognac house in the world) has long embraced its hip-hop audience. Rappers have mentioned the brand in their lyrics for many years and the brand’s latest concoction, Hennessy Black (its first major launch since 1961), is now being marketed specifically to an “urban” audience with a relatively lower price tag (its current celebrity campaign is “DJ Mixmasters,” featuring names like DJ D-Nice).
Cognac-drinking consumers were historically older and affluent, but over the years that slowly changed due to hip-hop’s affinity for the spirit. According to Cognac.com, African-Americans comprise anywhere between 60-80 percent of the total American cognac market. In 2007-2008, America imported 51.7 million bottles so if 60 percent of that was consumed by African-Americans, that’s a mind-boggling 31.2 million bottles of cognac. Looks like Snoop, T.I. and Ludacris know exactly what they’re doing.