For those of you not under a rock, you know Justin Timberlake has recently partnered with Sauza Tequila, part of the Beam Brands family of products, to sell his 901 Tequila which is being changed to Sauza 901.
Plenty of aficionados are discussing the issues of quality and flavor, as well they should, but nothing about this particular deal has anything to do with tequila. For Sauza, this deal is about gaining influence and reach with their target market, something they’ve been failing at miserably despite massive efforts in recent years. For Timberlake, this is about propelling another project forward into a successful income stream.
Chef Marcela’s Ladies Night Out didn’t work.
The Lifeguard didn’t save Sauza.
Even the fireman couldn’t muster a slow burn.
Tequila Production & Shelf Space + Social Networks = WINNING
As any accountant will tell you, social networks are intangible assets but anyone in marketing will tell you they are very much assets. Justin Timberlake has Sauza’s target market in a passionate liplock! Sauza Tequila’s recent marketing campaigns have been backfiring by talking down to women with the fireman and lifeguard so what better way to bring that huge demographic (women), responsible for 80% of buying decisions in America, back to Sauza than by having Timberlake talk to them? Show me the Sauza bimboys and I’ll walk away, but Justin Timberlake will get my undivided attention.
This is the first smart move I’ve seen from Sauza in years. Sauza does nothing for love of quality tequila. If they did, they’d work on their lineup. They’re in it for the money and don’t care if a product is good or not, all that matters is how it affects their bottom line. Their decision to go into business with Timberlake had nothing to do with tequila and everything to do with the audience Timberlake brings to the table.
As for Timberlake, there’s no doubt this former Mousketeer is a savvy businessman. He knows Beam brings the infrastructure capable of handling his 901 tequila from field to end consumer so all he has to do now is what he does best – stay in front of cameras and continue to build the Justin Timberlake brand. This is further evidence of his business savvy. He knows what he does well and just does it. (What he doesn’t do well, he stops doing. Case in point: his 901 commercials.) Because of this, no matter what he puts his name (or area code) on becomes a successful venture.
Just so we’re clear, nothing about this deal had anything to do with anyone’s love of agave spirits.
Tequilaville Take Aways
So what should tequila brand owners take away from all this?
Look at your business model. Most of you are 20-30 years behind the curve.
Stop marketing the way Patron did back in the 80s and 90s. Times have changed. When a guy walks into a liquor store now, 80% of the time, he’s been asked by a woman to purchase a particular product and that’s the one he is going to buy.
Brand owners need to move away from the bromos, bimbos and red solo cups and get serious about their own brands before anyone else will.
The people you want to influence to buy your products are women so when you sidle up to the bar, you’d better have something intelligent to say.