In October 2007, Sean \u201cDiddy\u201d Combs married C\u00eeroc\u00a0and hip-hop.\r\n\r\nOne of the most recognizable figures in U.S. pop culture, Combs contributed to the rise of \u201chip-hop luxury\u201d in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As CEO of Bad Boy World\u00a0Entertainment, Combs oversaw designer namedrops in artists\u2019 lyrics, and launched his own clothing and perfume lines.\r\n\r\nHip-hop is instrumental in his \u201crags to riches\u201d story, from the launch of\u00a0preeminent record label\u00a0Bad Boy Entertainment,\u00a0to his\u00a0foray\u00a0into high fashion\u00a0with\u00a0Sean John, where he won\u00a0the\u00a0Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) award\u00a0as\u00a0Menswear Designer of the Year in 2004. His journey\u00a0embodied a new version of the American Dream.\r\n\r\nCombs wasn\u2019t the first celebrity to try to turn C\u00eeroc\u00a0into a household name, but he was the most successful.\r\n\u201cI\u2019ll be damned if I drink some Belvedere while Puff got C\u00eeroc.\u201d \u2014Jay-Z, \u201cFamily Feud,\u201d 4:44\r\nIn 2003, British beverage conglomerate Diageo created C\u00eeroc with French oenologist and distiller Jean-S\u00e9bastien\u00a0Robicquet. A vodka-adjacent spirit\u00a0made with French wine grapes, C\u00eeroc initially struggled to attract consumers already loyal to established vodka brands like Grey Goose.\r\n\r\nMarketing is essential to garner and retain consumers in a competitive landscape, so the brand hired NFL players as celebrity ambassadors in the early 2000s. The partnership failed to produce needed sales. In the early 2000s, C\u00eeroc was the fiftieth ranked vodka in the world, according to Business Insider.\r\n\r\nFour years after C\u00eeroc\u2019s\u00a0debut, Diageo approached Combs with a celebrity endorsement deal. Combs countered with an equal-share partnership, where he would serve as the\u00a0brand manager and chief marketing officer.\u00a0His marketing agency,\u00a0Blue Flame,\u00a0would\u00a0be in charge of\u00a0advertising.\r\n\r\nUnder Combs\u2019 leadership, the\u00a0vodka brand identified a new consumer base, younger drinkers who were eager\u00a0to expand their options. In a 2007 interview with\u00a0Billboard, Combs described his\u00a0new consumer base.\u00a0"They're looking for something that tastes like their lifestyle,\u201d he said. \u201cIt's that trendsetter, that hipster, someone who's looking for luxury and looking for something better.\u201d\r\n\r\nCombs noted that it wasn\u2019t an endorsement deal, either. His work with C\u00eeroc\u00a0was much more multifaceted.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIn a 2013 opinion piece for Marketing Week, Mark\u00a0Ritson,\u00a0a\u00a0brand consultant and former marketing professor, called\u00a0the mogul\u2019s\u00a0efforts to attract younger consumers, \u201ca perfect 360-degree campaign in which events,\u00a0public relations, advertising, product placement, digital and outdoor were seamlessly used to build C\u00eeroc\u2019s\u00a0reputation for celebration and celebrity.\u201d\r\n\r\nWithin six years of the deal,\u00a0Combs\u00a0produced positive outcomes for C\u00eeroc.\u00a0Sales increased 600% from 2008-2013, according to\u00a0Marketing Week.\u00a0In 2013, competitors like Grey Goose saw 2% to 3% year-over-year sales, compared\u00a0to C\u00eeroc\u2019s growth of 65%\u00a0in the same time period.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe brand sold more than\u00a0two\u00a0million cases\u00a0[during 2012]\u00a0in the U.S.,\u201d wrote\u00a0Ritson.\u00a0\u201cThat\u2019s still only half that of Grey Goose,\u00a0but the trajectory of the two brands has now been reversed.\u00a0Goose is flat, and C\u00eeroc is catching up, fast.\u201d\r\n\r\nCombs utilized his status as a pop culture icon and hip-hop mogul to incorporate the genre\u2019s biggest stars into C\u00eeroc\u2019s campaigns, like 2016\u2019s \u201cLet\u2019s Get It\u201d with DJ Khaled and French Montana.\r\n\r\nIn 2011,\u00a0Combs was featured in the\u00a0\u201cLuck Be a Lady\u201d campaign\u00a0alongside actors Aaron Paul and Michael K. Williams, supermodel Chrissy Teigen\u00a0and\u00a0legendary record producer Jermaine\u00a0Dupri. Combs described himself as a \u201cblend of art and commerce\u201d in a 2014\u00a0interview\u00a0with\u00a0Vibe about the campaign.\r\n\r\nCombs is not the only hip-hop\u00a0icon\u00a0to\u00a0enter the\u00a0liquor and spirits industry.\u00a0In 2011, Jay-Z worked with\u00a0Bacard\u00ed\u00a0and Ch\u00e2teau de Cognac to launch\u00a0D\u2019Uss\u00e9. In 2013, Nas entered a years-long partnership with\u00a0Hennessy, the world\u2019s best-selling Cognac,\u00a0famously known\u00a0as\u00a0an early\u00a0spirits brand to market toward African Americans.\r\nWhile many spirits companies have utilized hip-hop in their advertising and marketing efforts, most have failed to invest in hip-hop culture and communities.\r\nJay-Z is a\u00a0partner in\u00a0D\u2019Uss\u00e9, but\u00a0he\u2019s also\u00a0the sole owner of\u00a0Armand de Brignac, (Ace of Spades), a\u00a0Champagne company that first appeared in the\u00a0U.S.\u00a0through a product placement in his \u201cShow Me What You Got\u201d music video.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019ll be damned if I drink some Belvedere while Puff got C\u00eeroc,\u201d raps Jay-Z on \u201cFamily Feud,\u201d off his 13th studio album, 4:44.\r\n\r\nThe verse emphasizes the importance of Black-owned brands in music. For decades, spirits companies received free promotion\u00a0in songs by\u00a0hip-hop and other artists.\r\n\r\nBetween 2009\u20132011, the most prevalent\u00a0brands\u00a0in\u00a0popular\u00a0music\u00a0were\u00a0Patr\u00f3n, Hennessy, Grey Goose and Jack Daniels,\u00a0according to Slate.\r\n\r\n\u201cHip-hop is a community that has embraced\u00a0Patr\u00f3n\u00a0as its drink of choice, even rhyming about the brand in its music,\u201d wrote\u00a0Ilana Edelstein, author of\u00a0The\u00a0Patr\u00f3n\u00a0Way: From Fantasy to Fortune.\r\n\r\nAs a cultural and commercial force, hip-hop also embraced brands like\u00a0Aliz\u00e9,\u00a0M\u00f6et\u00a0&\u00a0Chandon and Louis Roederer's Cristal\u2014until Jay-Z called for\u00a0a boycott of the latter after\u00a0he accused\u00a0Fr\u00e9d\u00e9ric\u00a0Rouzaud, managing director of the brand,\u00a0of\u00a0making\u00a0racially insensitive\u00a0comments about Cristal\u2019s prominence in rap music.\r\n\r\nWhile many spirits companies have utilized hip-hop in their advertising and marketing efforts, most have failed to invest in hip-hop culture and communities.\r\n\r\nThirteen years after Combs took\u00a0a leadership role\u00a0at\u00a0C\u00eeroc, it\u2019s one of the world\u2019s most\u00a0recognizable spirits brands. His success laid the foundation for hip-hop artists to be taken seriously in the liquor and spirits industry.