Last week, I grabbed a bottle of Glaceau's flavored vitaminwater. It wasn't until I was through with it, looking at the label, that I noticed the description blurb was all about rapper 50 Cent (a.k.a. Curtis Jackson). My first inclination was to call it product placement. I guess I had missed the news last October when 50 bought a share of the water company.
"It's truly a unique relationship," said Rohan Oza, senior vice president of marketing for Glaceau. "50 was such a fan of the brand, we felt that with this kind of loyalty, we should think of taking the partnership to the next level."
After watching 50 Cent with a vitaminwater bottle in a Reebok commercial, Glaceau executives offered to join forces. The rapper oversaw the choice of flavor for the new drink - grape - the purple label design and the name: Formula 50.
"Being as healthy as I am - I don't drink alcohol - vitaminwater helps me live a healthier lifestyle and control what goes into my body," 50 Cent said in a statement.
Water isn't the only thing 50 Cent is investing in. He's got a video game "Bulletproof" through Vivendi Universal Games in the works in which 50 is followed through the NYC streets as he "battles underworld figures to uncover a conspiracy." The game also features cross promotion for all the products he designs or endorses, including G-Unit clothing, Reebok sneakers, and, of course Glaceau Vitaminwater.
To top it off, 50 Cent will create and host exclusive programming on Shade 45, the uncensored hip-hop radio channel co-produced by SIRIUS and Eminem. 50 Cent will oversee G Unit Radio, which will take over Shade 45 all day on Saturdays with an innovative mix of shows and DJs produced by his own DJ, Whoo Kid.
It's really not so unusual though. James LeBron has his own Bubblicious flavor "Lightning Lemonade" with a :15 spot that appeared during the Super Bowl this year. And all those sports stars who have their own line of products- usually shoes or clothes - or celebrities and their perfume madness - is there much of a difference?
The biggest difference seems to be that some celebrities, like 50 Cent, are finding ways to create new channels to promote themselves besides more traditional methods. It seems 50 picked up some good business sense during his drug pushing days. Forget trying to get an MBA, all you need are some years on the street. ;)