Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Beam Suntory Makes Statement about 50 Cent Vodka Brouhaha
Actor-rapper 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) is all over the news today, at least in southwestern Ohio, because of a video he posted in which he mocks a handicapped teenager who 'Fitty' thought might be on drugs. The performer was in Cincinnati doing promotion for Effen Vodka, for which he is a paid endorser. Now major stores and bars in the region, including where he had just appeared, are boycotting Effen in protest. Upcoming appearances by 50 Cent in St Louis have been cancelled because of the flap.
He has since apologized but the damage is probably done. No one in the retail community is in a hurry to get the brand back on the shelves. Boycotting Effen is a pretty low-cost protest for the retailers since the brand is not a big seller in a category jammed with alternatives.
So far, none of the news accounts have mentioned that Beam Suntory is the brand owner. Might the boycott spread to other Beam Suntory products such as Jim Beam itself?
What does Beam Suntory have to say about it? Just this.
"As a brand that considers social responsibility the highest of priorities, EFFEN® Vodka does not condone the recent behavior of 50 Cent. We have expressed to him our profound disappointment for his actions, which are in no way representative of the brand’s values."
That probably won't be enough. They should have fired him immediately, before the Beam Suntory name gets dragged into it as it inevitably will. Now, in a way, they can't since they have publicly admonished him and he has expressed contrition.
Beam acquired Effen Vodka in 2009 in an odd deal that sent Old Taylor Bourbon to Sazerac. The brand's creator, Constellation Brands, had dumped it along with a basket full of other cats and dogs when it decided to reduce its footprint in distilled spirits.