The sun has returned, and all is well in the Sweartaker world again. Even if this week is a short respite from the wind and the rain, we will absolutely take it.
So, sit back in your deck chair, pour that chilled summer glass of rosé, and enjoy this week’s musing as we discuss; the return of gambling to America, watch a stunning music video, celebrate a unique sporting collaboration and ponder the rise of the celebrity alcohol sector.
It took fourteen years for the U.S. to overturn its prohibition of alcohol. But a similar puritanical law that prohibited gambling (in all but two states) survived until 2018 when it was overturned by the courts. Unsurprisingly, gambling is now a huge growth area in the States.
Even Jay Z is getting in on the action, investing millions in Fanatics, Michael Rubin‘s sports licensing giant that is now valued at $18 billion USD. Gambling can be fun; we’ve been known to stick a fiver or two on the Grand National once a year. However, more and more betting companies are cropping up on our screens with ‘new and innovative’ ways for people to part with their money on football matches, horse racing, well… just about anything, really. Will this be the new norm for our North American friends, or will there be a dark market approach like what is now happening in Italy? One thing is for sure, we wouldn’t bet against it.
Some of us are old enough to remember being hyped for our favourite artist to drop their new music video on MTV. It was a moment. It was art. But also, a marketing tool – music videos were crucial to getting airplay, and budgets and production values reached Hollywood proportions. To date the most expensive music video was Michael Jackson’s Scream video in 1999 which cost $7 million.
But what really excites us is when a great idea results in an inexpensive video that grabs our attention. We loved Gotye’s Somebody that I Used to Know which featured just himself, Kimbra, and a lot of paint, and Billie Eilish’s Therefore I am, which was shot in one take on an iPhone in an empty shopping centre in LA. Our latest fave is from Irish band The Academic, who have released a brilliant video for their latest single, Not Your Summer, made entirely on Google Slides. The band let over 60 different people add, delete, and change parts of the Google slides, creating a screen recording of the constantly changing slides deck. The result is a mind-blowing music video like no other. G’wan the lads.
Three cheers for three little birds
We love strong collaborations, particularly when they result in something as stylish and stunning as AFC Ajax’s new, Bob Marley-inspired third kit.
Ajax fans famously love to belt out the classic Marley tune “Three Little Birds” at games, and the new kit is a fitting tribute, both to the fans and to reggae legend Bob Marley, a huge football fan. The back of the jersey features three little birds sitting on Amsterdam’s Andreas crosses in Rastafarian green, yellow and red.
The inspiration behind the partnership started in 2008 when Ajax played a friendly match in Cardiff. After the game, the visiting fans were asked to remain in the stands after the game. Entertaining the fans, the Stadium DJ, played Three Little Birds and the rest is history. The fans instantly embraced the song as their own and have been singing it at every game since. A true symbol of hope, the fans sing the song on all occasions. From a commercial point of view, the club have launched the jersey as part of a range of clothing including sports and leisure wear as well as Samba footwear. Expect the jersey and the overall range to sell out and for this to be the start of a very successful partnership.
The Intoxicating Rise of Celebrity Booze
This week, legendary chanteuse Mariah Carey announced the launch of her very own Irish liqueur brand, Black Irish (so named to pay homage to her mixed heritage). While it’s already the subject of a trademark battle meaning it can’t currently be sold in the EU, it got us thinking about the lucrative market of celebrity-owned alcohol brands.
Many celebrities have created, collaborated with, or invested in wine labels and liquor brands over the years but the sheer number who have launched their own alcohol brands has skyrocketed recently. In researching this topic, we learned that not only does Linda Nolan (of the Nolan Sisters fame) have her own gin brand, but it even outsold Rita Ora’s Próspero Tequila.
So, what is attracting celebrities to own their own brand rather than simply endorsing one? Well, it may have something to do with the pay off. In 2018, George Clooney was named Forbes’ highest-paid actor not due to any acting roles, but instead thanks to the near billion-dollar sale of his tequila brand, Casamigos. If you can pour a bit of your wealth and fame into a liquor company and come out nine figures richer, why wouldn’t you? With entertainment industries yielding reduced incomes since the start of the pandemic, it feels like a good option to make a quick buck. So, Bob Dylan, Ryan Reynolds and Kendall Jenner walk into a bar…