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Jose Cuervo Romanced Kevin Love with Pro Beach Volleyball

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Kevin Love has chosen to “Find His Beach” not with a Corona, but with a shot of Cuervo.  He  partnered with Jose Cuervo to promote  last month’s Manhattan Beach Open.

The Manhattan Beach Open is part of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series (JCPBVS), and is one of the premier events of the So Cal summer.  According to Brian Radics, Jose Cuervo brand director, the decision for Jose Cuervo to become title sponsor of the JCPBVS was based on the fit between the brand and the sport:

“Beach volleyball and Jose Cuervo are both known for intensity and lifestyle appeal, and the opportunity to help the sport return to prominence not only for the players but also for fans was one we’re excited about.”

The Partnership

The partnership between Kevin Love and Jose Cuervo was announced in July at the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series event in Times Square.  There, Kevin Love described to a reporter from Larry Brown Sports how the partnership originated:

“Jose Cuervo came to me and said that they wanted me to be a part of it and I took it and ran with it — I thought it was a home run. It’s a different thing I could use throughout the lockout to keep active and kind of have fun with, so I’m very excited about it.”

It is very interesting that Jose Cuervo would approach an active player – albeit one not under contract – to participate in one of its marquee marketing initiatives of the summer.  Furthermore, we should examine why the marketing of the event was conspicuously devoid of Kevin Love’s likeness.

According to the Distill Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS):

“To help ensure that individuals in beverage alcohol advertising are and appear to be above the legal purchase age, models and actors employed should be a minimum of 25 years old, substantiated by proper identification and should reasonably appear to be 21 years of age and older. (Page 5, Point 7)”

Partnership Restrictions

Kevin Love is only 22 years old.  In order for this partnership to be compliant with the distilled spirits governing body, Kevin Love could not publicly endorse the Jose Cuervo product e.g. “I have always loved Cuervo.  Back at UCLA, me and Westbrook used to got shot for shot on our way to the Final 4. (fictional quote)”  Therefore, when Kevin Love speaks about his partnership with Jose Cuervo it is always in direct relation to the JCPBVS, “I have always been a fan of beach volleyball and when I received the opportunity to play in the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. (actual quote)”  The restriction however detracts from Love’s dynamic social personality which could have dramatically moved the needle on the partnership.

The Possibilities of the Partnership

Love has been part of a clever campaign with Right Guard, a viral video promoting his All-Star game worthiness (the video was created by the T-Wolves and has been removed from the Internet due to the lockout), more than 67,000 Facebook Likes, and more than 97,000 Followers on Twitter.  His greatest asset to brands moving forward is that he is fully fluent in the language of social media.

He entered college as Facebook was becoming ubiquitous and Twitter was gaining mainstream attention.  He has immersed himself in these platforms, and understands how to engage his audience.  Furthermore, he is comfortable in front of a camera.  His appeal to Jose Cuervo is obvious.  However, the limitations of his age prevented the partnership from reaching is true potential.  We could have a mockumentary on his training reigme featuring guest appearances from NBA and Hollywood stars, we could have had a cross country tour with Love promoting his affiliation with Jose Cuervo at summer hotspots across the nation, and we could have seen one of the most interactive social media campaigns of the summer.

Partnering with Kevin Love was a great way for Jose Cuervo to bring national attention to a local event, despite the limitations of his age.  I look forward to seeing how Jose Cuervo promotes the remaining two events of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series.

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