Monday, March 31, 2008

From Brandrepublic

"LONDON - Groove Armada have become the latest pop act to break out of the record company mould by signing a one-year music deal with alcoholic drinks firm Bacardi-Martini.
The British dance music duo, who recently parted ways with Sony BMG's Jive Records label, will release music via the Bacardi brand and play live at Barcardi-branded events. As part of the recording contract, the first involving a band and a drinks brand, Bacardi will fund the production of a four-track EP, which will be released digitally and in hard-copy format.

The agreement also allows Bacardi to commission tracks for use in advertising and other promotional campaigns.

For Bacardi, the deal is a close fit with its two-year old B-Live project, a series of live streamed dance music events that the drinks brand has hosted in more than 25 countries across the globe. Groove Armada are due to play at a number of these over the coming year.

Andy Cato, one half of Groove Armada, said: "After Groove Armada's 10th anniversary year of huge gigs, we were looking for ways to take things to another level. Working alongside Bacardi we have the chance to take the GA travelling show to new people and places, find innovative ways of getting our music out there and keep the stories flowing for the GA Road Movie with Bacardi B-Live."

Groove Armada are no strangers to licensing their music for use in marketing -- their track 'I See You Baby' was used to promote the Renault Megane in a long-running TV campaign.

The ad was been banned from being shown when children were watching TV after complaints that some were copying the language and the ad's bum wiggling.

Bacardi's marketing strategy is particularly focused on attracting young consumers through its involvement in music. For example, it has a heavy presence at UK music festivals, hosting a B-Live Arena at the V Festival and T in The Park.

Groove Armada's deal with Bacardi is the latest in a growing trend in which bands are eschewing traditional ways of releasing music.

Most famously last October, Radiohead let punters pay as little or as much as they wanted for the release of studio album 'In Rainbows'. Just days before the Radiohead news broke, The Charlatans announced that they were to give away their forthcoming album 'You Cross My Path' as a free download in a deal with Xfm; and, in July, Prince sparked a major row with retailer HMV when he gave away his latest album 'Planet Earth' with The Mail on Sunday."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Brilliant presention...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I found this on Coolhunting:

"Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Photography recently announced the editions for their 2008 Fine Print Program. The program offers the opportunity to collect contemporary photographs by internationally recognized artists while supporting the Museum. Definitely a win-win for all involved.

An exceptional standout in the group is “Boy with Stockings / Whiskey and Cigarettes” (pictured) by New Catalogue. Luke Batten and Jonathan Sadler are the two Chicago-Based artists whose collaboration forms New Catalogue. The artists' characterize their work as “a visual research project that mirrors a stock image bank." Their series of work have provided extensive examinations on subjects ranging from the mundane (suburbia) to the controversial (Hitler), all blended with satire creating imagery reflecting the postmodern world and all at once lyrical, sharp and humorous. To see more of New Catalogue, their first monograph entitled “Big Ten Co-Eds, Preppy Girls and The Lost Cheerleaders” is available through Nazraeli Press."

These photos won a photography competition and are on sale for $300 here.

What will J&B make of someone who looks under age, smoking and drinking J&B with hints of cross dressing being associated with their brand?

Persaonlly, I think it's pretty cool and adds to J&B's arty, irreverent feel. The concept of photograpy (and other creative) contests for premium, introspective spirits is, very interesting. Especially when you get to sell the work and bring out the best in artists as well.

From Coolhunting

These are pretty cool. I've been tempted to get the swan like one for Dad a few times now. But the price tag has always stopped me...

"New from the generations-old family glassware-makers Riedel, this series of decanters takes its inspiration from birds for a collection that's as striking as it is functional. Designed by Maximillian Riedel (also responsible for leading the stemless revolution) and his father Georg and handmade by artisans in their Austrian factory, the leaded crystal vessels are all aerodynamic lines and dramatic dimensions.

While the Swan (above right) and Paloma (top) feature sloping tails that double as handles and a curved neck serves as a drip-free spout, the Flamingo (above left) takes a cue from a traditional wine bottle. A deep indent in the bottom for the thumb provides stability with which to pour wine out of the nearly two-foot tall decanter. Each holds a bottle of wine and all are limited in quantity."

You can buy them on Amazon.

Could you do a "Buy a decanter inspired by brand x promotion that comes with a complimentary bottle"?

From Springwise:

This looks very cool indeed and I wonder whether it would work for whisky and cognac? Or any other spirit that derives its quality from being blended...

"Dedicated readers may recall Crushpad, an urban winery we've already discussed on two separate occasions, and now the busy vintners there have given us reason to cover them yet again. Just before the holidays Crushpad introduced fusebox, a wine blending kit that lets users experience the wine-making process at home.

Crushpad's 15-pound fusebox was created to contain everything a group of four might need to explore how some of the world’s greatest wines are blended: Six 375 mL bottles of blending wine from some of Napa's finest vineyards, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc; one 375 mL bottle of Mystery Wine; one graduated cylinder and 4 pipettes; four wine evaluation cards; four tasting place mats; recipe cards, a vinography aroma card and a corkscrew. Using the kit, wine enthusiasts can try to re-create classic Cabernet blends or invent their own; they can also test their discernment skills on the included Mystery Wine by playing the “Guess the Mystery Blend” online game at fusebox is priced at USD 120 and available for shipping only within the United States.

“Crushpad’s mission is to turn consumers into creators,” explains Michael Brill, CEO of San Francisco-based Crushpad. “Whether it’s the multiyear experience of making a wine from vine to bottle or just spending a few hours with friends enjoying a blending session with fusebox, we want to give individuals the opportunity to experience the fun and sense of creative expression that comes from making wine.”

Crushpad has always specialized in helping enthusiasts understand and make their own wines, providing desirable status skills along the way. With fusebox, that experience becomes an insperience, making for a winning combination. Crushpad is in the very early phases of signing up fusebox retailers and distributors. One to bring to the rest of the wine-loving world!"

This is fascinating. It goes to show that people are becoming increasingly interested in buying experiences. There is a human need to do things that make them becoming more interesting. More rounded. And they are happy to pay for it!

From Springwise:

"We wrote recently about the interactive wine bar at Adour in New York City's St. Regis Hotel, and since then we've spotted several mentions of iBar, a related innovation by UK-based Mindstorm.

Unveiled in 2006, the iBar is a customisable surface technology that turns any bar into a giant version of an interactive, touch-sensitive screen. Integrated video projectors can display any content on the bar's milky surface, while built-in intelligent tracking software continually maps the position of every object touching its surface. That input is then used to let the projected content interact dynamically with the movements on the counter, allowing coloured lights, for example, to illuminate, link and follow every movement of hands, bottles and glasses. Multiple people can interact with the iBar at once, and virtual objects can be "touched" with the fingers, enabling a game of pinball where players shoot with their thumbs, for example. Content that can be displayed on the iBar includes internet content, interactive games and advertising; bars can also be fitted with Bluetooth technology to allow consumers to download their own content. The iBar is a stand-alone system comprising modules 2m long, and it can be networked wirelessly to allow interaction between two or more separate units.

The iBar has already been used in events, exhibitions, product launches and top night spots all over the world, Mindstorm says, including BMW's head office in Munich, Geneva's Pimp Club and a gala dinner at Google. Such technologies certainly have the potential to transform the consumer experience at bars, restaurants and other venues, as well as providing a wealth of new advertising and point-of-sale opportunities. One to try out early!"

Check out the YouTube version of it.

Great piece of talkability for bars and brands. Have a look at this page for the branding effects they are capable of.

I found this on PSFK and Springwise so it's pretty hot. It picks up on a desire of food and drink brands to tap into the burgeoning world of food and drink blogging.

"SOOPZ is a network of food bloggers. Ever so often, we’ll get approached by someone who wants to raise awareness for their food products online (like me and my dulce). The SOOPZ network is perfect for this, because I haven’t met a food blogger yet that doesn’t love free food.

Over time, the network will grow and the amount of food we give away will increase. For now, we’re a happy family of about 200 food bloggers (we call them Sooper Heroes) ready to taste some of what you’ve got. Want to become a Sooper Hero?"

Here's the chat from Springwise:

"There's no such thing as a free lunch—unless, of course, you happen to be a food blogger. Food manufacturers tend to be liberal with their samples when it comes to gaining exposure through influential voices, and one New Orleans-based blogger has turned that into a defining feature of his site.

On, Blake Killian has developed SOOPZ, a network of 200 or so readers who are also food bloggers—"Sooper Heroes," as he calls them. Manufacturers send multiple samples of a particular item to Blake, who announces that they will be given away through his site. Registered Sooper Heroes can then sign up to receive some in exchange for at least the possibility that they'll write about them on their own blogs. Most recently, for instance, TCHO—the chocolatier we featured not long ago on our own pages—donated a bunch of its chocolate bars for giveaway to the SOOPZ network. Before that it was Sucre chocolate. Since the site's founding last May, Blake has even started developing a line of his own products, starting with Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche—of which he's given away more than a hundred jars through the site. Future plans include videos and a cookbook as well, Blake says.

Whereas food brands have increasingly begun seeking out blog exposure, traditionally that's happened just one blog at a time, and on the brands' own initiative. By acting as an intermediary, is turning that model on its head and giving companies quick access to many bloggers in one shot. Bloggers get free food, companies get free publicity, and everyone gets happy. If you're in food, better start lining up now...!"

I wonder whether this would be a good move for any of our brands?

From Springwise:

"More than a century ago, citizens of the Czech city of Pilsen pioneered new methods of brewing and storing beer. Now a new franchising concept called the Pilsner Unique Bar is mixing the town’s venerable brewing tradition with leading-edge technology. The establishment’s main innovation? Patrons no longer have to line up at the bar or wait for a server. Instead, they serve themselves from taps installed at the bar’s tables. A display keeps track of how many beers have been poured. Technology has also been integrated in other ways: the Pilsner Unique Bar is connected to sister franchises elsewhere in the country, so that patrons can challenge barflies in other towns to contests. And wireless internet is available for customers who want to surf while they sip.

Like many successful franchises, the Unique Bar makes optimal use of its floor space. During the day a coffee shop and restaurant attract most of the patrons until the early evening, which is when the pub transforms into a nightspot. However, Unique Bar’s self-service tap could be the feature that most endears the concept to customers and prospective owners. Not only does it cut down on staffing needs, it also lets customers get their brews as soon as they want them, and attracts parties and groups. We’ve spotted this system in Dublin, too, where patrons of The Baggot Inn swipe a credit card to pull their own beers. Staff is on hand to offer tips on how to pull the perfect pint. Next up: DIY cocktail bars for wannabe mixologists?"

Interesting to see if bars take up the idea of robotic mixilogy machines... they still seem to be a bit in their infancy:

From Luxist:

"Our faltering economy is starting to hit the cocktail culture. MarketWatch reports that while alcohol manufacturers usually do just fine in a tough economy, bars and nightclubs may find themselves in trouble. As the purse strings tighten people tend to opt for drinking at home versus spending their cash on pricey bar cocktails. Currently liquor is still seen as an affordable luxury, it is far easier to buy top shelf booze than a top-of-the-line car, but that may change over time. As we've mentioned before on this website, the current economic climate is having more of an effect on the middle of the wealth spectrum rather than the upper end. Therefore casual dining restaurants are feeling more of the pain thus far and the bar tab makes up a significant portion of each sale. Brand loyalty will protect many labels especially in the cases of people who have ordered the same drink for years.

Wine Spirits Daily has also been on the case trying to predict what will happen to the various liquor ranges. Most of the people in the industry that they surveyed believe that the $20 to $30 "premium" spirits are probably safe but the "ultra premium" bottles that are in the $50+ range might not be so appealing as the aspirational consumer starts to pare down. Most feel certain that the middle range of the market will remain safe. One of their respondents echoed the concerns expressed in the MarketWatch article that where people drink may change more than what people drink. Most people, regardless of the economy, won't be willing to give up their cocktails but if they can get them for cheaper they will."

Another classic from Slashfood:

"The more crazy stories I hear about the goings-on in Texas, the more I want to go. Apparently a business proprietor in Palo Pinto County has been arrested for selling alcohol without a permit and possessing it with the intent to sell.

Well, what he intended to sell was vodka, each bottled with a 10" rattlesnake. The owner of Bayou Bob's Brazos River Rattlesnake Ranch could face up to a year in jail and $1000 in fines for the 411 bottles that he had on the premises.

The police said that they had received a tip, and that the rattlesnake booze had to be asked for - it wasn't out. They believe the liquor was intended for sale in Asia, where apparently they drink all kinds of alcohol with snakes and lizards in it. This kind of beverage supposedly induces hallucinations.

I have never heard about this kind of thing, except that some tequila's have worms in them. I don't think I'd even try liquor with some kind of reptile or insect in it. What do you think - regular or snake flavored?"

Hopefully not one for the Beam porfolio. Although it does have a stong USP!

From Slashfood.

"It seems that wine is really in with the 20's crowd and they're a changing force in the market. Starting around 2003 their impact on the industry started to show. The "Millennial Generation" love wine, and what they like isn't all big Cali Cabs or Oaky Chards. For them it's all about fun and offbeat wines like Malbecs from Argentina or a Tempranillo from Spain. And I can relate. These are the wines I love. Sure I'll dive into an Old Vine Zin, or Big Bold Cab, but show me something new, interesting, and different, like a golden and lively Ribolla Gialla , a Sangiovese blend from Maremma, or a dry sparkling wine like Gruet from New Mexico; and I'm all over it.

As one of the early Gen X crowd, sometimes called Gen Jones, I saw the whole change in the wine industry first hand; working in wine shops in the NYC area in my late teens and early 20's. When I started, French wine was it. Old world, elegant and refined, somewhat snooty; and not very accessible. Boring, just like the older Baby Boomers before me who had brought back an interest in wine to the US. These were wines that seemed more for show than enjoyment. (The younger Baby Boomers were more into vodka and illicit substances.) To a few of us young Gen X'ers, German whites, dry or sweet; were daring and fun. Most of the rest had a White Zin as their first wine, sort of a Gateway Wine that led to trying something a bit more serious, but not stuffy. Californian wines started to make a showing, and slowly took over to become the Big Jock on the Block. Later The Aussies stepped up to the plate where they overwhelmed the world with good wine at a low price and in Quantity. The wine industry keeps tabs on these trends and just love where it's heading."

There is a very good article in the LA Times about Young Wine Enthusiasts. Here's the picture:

And here's the article.

If people are keen to become connoisseurs / more knowledgable about wine at a younger age the implication is that the same could apply for cognac, whisky and tequila.

Just spotted this on Londonist:

"For those of you in London this Easter weekend, there's a treat for you. Oh yes.

Good Friday will indeed by very good because that's the evening of the Hendrick's Spring Masked Ball, a most glorious night of gin-flavoured hedonism, elaborate costume and fantastic facewear. Organised by the decadent chaps of The Last Tuesday Society, we know from their reputation at previous balls that this is going to be rather fabulous and as well as an intriguing musical line up of DJs and the frankly disturbing Punch & Judy show, there will also be the chance to...

"...Gorge Yourselves at Suzette Field's Famous Cheeseboard, Viktor Wynd's Midnight Feast of Yesterdays Cakes & The Fruits of Ridley Road & Their Chocolate Fountain

Detox Whilst You Tox as Martin Ahearne Brings The Little Organic Juicebar from Upper Street and helps you juice the surrounding fruit and vegetables and mix them with Mother's Ruin

Amuse Yourselves With the Broken Toys of Dalston Oxfam Shop & Their Preplayed Games"

So leave that full face zip-up gimp mask at home and wear something with room to sip a gin cocktail and nibble one of yesterday's cakes. It never suited you anyway. Apart from obligatory masks, the dress code is opulence, ball gowns and 'fancy' and prizes will be given out for the best dressed people, the most virginal smile and the greatest mask. Rah. See you there?

Hendrick's Masked Spring Ball, Arts Theatre (Covent Garden), Friday 21 March. Tickets are £12 in advance or £15 on the door, £50 for a family ticket for 5 in advance only. For more information and to book, go here."

What's great about this is that the event is very Henrdicks. It's niche. It's interesting. It's surprising. And they're doing brilliantly to sell tickets to the event and get publicity as a result. The readers of Londonist have all been exposed to a cool piece of Hendrick's activity. And at very low cost.


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