by Mars Riley
Imagine you are Danny DeVito.
You go on the morning talk show, The View, drunk. You do your President-Bush-is-a-baboon routine. The clip of this is shown repeatedly on television and the internet. When asked about it, you say you spent the night before partying with your buddy George Clooney and “I knew it was the last seven limoncellos that was going to get me.” This gets a laugh and even more coverage. Non-Italians everywhere are asking, “What’s limoncello?” Before you know it, your name becomes almost synonymous with this classic Italian home brewed recipe. Wherever you go, people order it for you. Fans send you bottles in the mail. You have become limoncello incarnate. So what do you do with all of this attention?
Front your own signature brand, of course: Danny DeVito’s Premium Limoncello!
The company behind this new Danny DeVito cocktail is Iconic Brands. What sets them apart from other importers is that they actively pursue celebrity endorsements for naming their products. Besides Danny DeVito, they market and distribute baseball legend Johnny Bench’s 5 Scotch Whiskey and football great Tony “Goose” Siragusa’s “Yo” Vodka. They have also recently teamed up with Paramount Pictures to launch The Godfather Organic Italian Vodka. I never knew the Corleone family was into organic—go figure.
Obviously, Iconic Brands are actively going after the fan base of these celebrities and movies, but, with the exception of Danny DeVito and limoncello, these drinks seem to be a bit weak in the story department. Maybe Johnny Bench had a swig of whiskey before heading out to catch a game, but that’s probably not how he’d prefer to be remembered.
Siragusa may have said “Yo!” a lot, but what does that have to do with vodka? Is it really because his nickname is close to Grey Goose? If that’s the case, at 340 pounds, he’s more of a Spruce Goose than a grey goose. And what exactly is a bottle of vodka doing on the Corleone’s table? I can imagine that plenty of Jersey Shore ‘Italians‘ love Vodka, but it might have made more sense to slap The Godfather label on a bottle of grappa. At least there¹s a connection.
In their press releases Iconic Brands, Inc. state that they are going for differentiation on their products. It’s great to be different, but it’s also nice to have a reason. The page for Danny DeVito’s Limoncello boasts that “it’s the ONLY product to EVER carry THE Danny DeVito name.” It also happens to have an industry first scratch and sniff label. Classy. Not quite as classy as Danny DeVito showing up drunk on a morning talk show. But not everyone is as good at pushing their luck.