The top five celebrity endorsements of vodka

Categories: The List

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"Clear Thinking," this week's cover story about Spring44 vodka and gin, outlined the rise of vodka, which went from a rarely-consumed liquor to the country's most popular spirit between the end of Prohibition and the mid-1970s. That was mostly thanks to marketing, including, in addition to brilliant ad campaigns, product placements in movies and celebrity endorsements.

Spring44 opted out of bringing on Hollywood's A-Listers to push its product, but here are five celebrity endorsements of vodka that helped make the category worth billions of dollars:

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5. Woody Allen, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Julie Newmar -- Smirnoff
In the 1960s, Smirnoff, which pioneered vodka marketing with the famous "It leaves you breathless" slogan, launched a series of magazine ads featuring Hollywood's hottest stars. Woody Allen, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Julie Newmar all made appearances, and Allen later referenced his stint with the vodka maker in a stand-up comedy routine called "The Vodka Ad."

4. Zach Galifinakis -- Absolut
Zach Galifinakis really hit the mainstream in 2009 with The Hangover, but before he was a mega-star, he was a comedian who created a couple of shorts featuring Absolut vodka. The company allowed him to do anything he wanted, so he signed up Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim to assist, unveiling a trio of ridiculous -- and hilarious -- YouTube videos.

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Ciroc
3. Sean "Diddy" Combs -- Ciroc
Ciroc spent a few years selling its vodka, which is made from grapes instead of grain, without the help of a star. But in 2007, Ciroc struck a deal with Diddy, whereby he'd get half the company if he would be responsible for endorsing and marketing it. Diddy agreed and immediately proved that celebrity endorsements work -- according to Ad Age, the company has grown 552 percent, bringing in many millions of dollars more in revenue, since Diddy came on in 2007.


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6 comments
Katelyn Meyers
Katelyn Meyers

well chelsea handler has a strict allegiance to ketel one and anyone whose read her books can agree. I wander how belvedere feels about that?

J.
J.

Didn't Ciroc have to sue (or threaten to) Diddy b/c he was constantly seen drinking GG or belvedere or some other high end vodka instead of Ciroc.

barslinger
barslinger

Hale Irwin endorsing Ceren Vodka

Denver Restaurant Junkie
Denver Restaurant Junkie

Not to pump up any one's balloon, but the Westword's own Sean Kenyon is repping Spring44 and this makes it at least the 3rd mention (and this includes the cover story) this week. Pretty sure that makes him a celebratory endorser, or maybe Westword should just get in bed and call themselves an endorser.  Isn't there something else going on in restaurants this week?

davebarnes
davebarnes

Two words for clear beverage marketing: Sidney Frank.

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