Editor's Note

With his days of Cristal and Courvoisier apparently behind him, Sean “Diddy” Combs has inked a multiyear deal to develop the Ciroc vodka brand—one of Diageo PLC’s superpremium lines—for a 50-50 share in the profits.

It’s the latest agreement in which a celebrity is going beyond the typical endorser role to share in a brand’s rise and fall, such as Jay-Z with Budweiser, 50 Cent with Vitamin Water, and last week’s announced partnership with Tiger Woods and Gatorade.

Diageo said the agreement could be worth more than $100 million for Combs over the course of the deal, depending on how well the brand performs.

“It is not an endorsement deal,” Combs told The Associated Press. “This is something that will have my daily attention.”

Combs added that he wanted to work with Diageo because the company understood that “I’m not just a celebrity endorser, I’m a brand builder. I’m a luxury brand builder.”

Combs, who already has his own perfume and clothing line, and serves as chief executive of record company Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, seems to be following in the footsteps of New York’s other great entrepreneur, Donald Trump, whose name emblazons products ranging from furniture to fashion to, yes, even vodka.

Michael Browne
Managing Editor