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Episode Seven: Man And Machine
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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Is hip-hop mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs about to try his hand at selling Guinness?
The musician-turned-entrepreneur, who teamed up with Diageo in 2007 to manage and promote its Ciroc vodka brand, has held talks with the British beverage behemoth about working on its Guinness and Red Stripe beer brands, according to people familiar with the matter.
It's not clear if or when a beer deal will be struck, but it's thought to most likely involve a U.S. multicultural initiative on the brands, and not the sort of broad, general-market role Mr. Combs has played on Ciroc.
BBDO is global agency of record for Guinness and Red Stripe, and that status presumably would not be affected by a local collaboration with Mr. Combs. A BBDO spokesman declined to comment, and referred a call to a Diageo spokesperson, who said the company doesn't comment on rumors and speculation.
In an interview with Advertising Age shortly after the Ciroc announcement, Mr. Combs described himself as a hybrid brand manager, chief marketing officer and spokesman for the brand. "I'll be taking the lead on all the things traditionally a CMO or a brand manager would do, just doing them my way," Mr. Combs said at the time. "Marketing in a way that is truly unique."
He has been featured prominently in Ciroc's creative and has also hosted events featuring it, and in the process has generally drawn raves from Diageo executives, who give him some credit for the brand's robust sales trends.
It's less clear, however, whether he'd have the same impact juggling multiple alcoholic beverage brands. Typically, hip-hop stars have stuck to one beverage endorsement at a time, with mixed results. Jay-Z backed Bud Select, Kanye West supported Absolut and KRS-One and Common have worked with Smirnoff.
But if anyone can juggle multiple alcohol brands, it's Mr. Combs, who already has his name on clothing and fragrance lines in addition to Ciroc -- and, of course, his music career.