The “House of Friends” marketing push, named after a rough translation of the “Casamigos” name, asks fans of the small-batch premium tequila to document their experiences drinking it and submit video content on social media for a chance of being featured in the social campaign.
It kicked off with a candid video of brand friend and fashion photographer Jason Lee Perry and musician Lukas Nelsen drinking the tequila on a camping trip.
Casamigos Tequila’s marketing and creative director Domenic Venneri told Marketing Week that the creative for the first official marketing campaign was all done in-house.
“Instead of going out and creating a fictitious campaign, which is pretty popular right now, we’re really just showing our brand values,” he said.
With the tagline “Brought to you by those who drink it” the brand was founded by Clooney along with two friends, bar and restaurant mogul Rande Gerber and Discovery Land Company CEO Mike Meldman.
Clooney and Gerber set out to make smoother-tasting tequila “without a hangover” while spending time at their houses in Cabo, Mexico.
“They went to a distillery and asked if it could be done,” Venneri said. “800 samples later, they have the perfect cure and were making it for their friends.”
He said the Mexican government wanted to start taxing the pair, so in 2012 they decided to launch a company.
Three different variants of the tequila are made in Jalisco, Mexico from pure agaves roasted in brick ovens instead of steamed according to Venneri. The fermentation process also takes 80 hours compared to the industry standard of 48.
“The distinction is that George and Rande actually own the company – it’s their money and them making decisions, it’s not them endorsing it,” Venneri said, adding that each batch is tasted and approved by both Gerber and Clooney before being bottled.
There are currently no plans for the Hollywood star to be centered out in the brand’s advertising.
According to Venneri, many alcohol companies ask celebrities to get involved in order to hit certain markets without considering whether they’re a good fit for the brand.
Over the last year, numerous spirits brands have partnered with A-listers to front their marketing efforts.
Last year Diageo signed David Beckham and his manager Simon Fuller to front the global launch of its Haig Club single grain scotch whisky brand in an effort to create new revenue streams from the category.
The company said the duo would play a “fundamental” role in developing the brand’s marketing strategy and positioning while Beckham would lead Haig Club’s responsible drinking programme.
Meanwhile, Jim Beam partnered with actress Mila Kunis in an effort to reach the expanding number of 18-34 whisky drinkers in the UK.
“If you look across every other company in this space you’ll see suit in offices coming up with segments and hiring agencies to hit those segments,” Venneri claimed.
“They’re slow, inauthentic brands trying to reach people by telling them how to be a gentleman. There’s nothing authentic about that. It’s the opposite of what we are.”
Casamigos is currently the fastest-growing tequila in the US according to Venneri, which he believes will be a prediction of the brand’s performance in other markets.
The brand launched in the UK in March into high-end retailers including Selfridges and Harvey Nichols as well as on-trade in the likes of Nobu, The Berkeley, Chiltern Firehouse and The Dorchester.
However Venneri said: “We absolutely have intentions of launching into other retailers. We have no intention of keeping it exclusive.”
He added that while the brand is “ultra-premium”, the friends have “lowered the price to make it accessible to as many people as possible.”
“With almost no advertising at all, our growth has been astronomical,” he added.
“There’s a lot of eyeballs on what George and Rande are doing, but it’s very clear that the tequila stands by itself. It’s about the group of people who like it rather than the guys who make it.”
Image Credit: Andrew Southam