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Diageo to buy George Clooney’s Casamigos tequila in $1bn deal – Financial Times

Diageo’s announcement of its acquisition of tequila brand Casamigos, which was co-founded by George Clooney, generated massive media interest across the globe. In addition to the Financial Times, lots of other news outlets ranging from Reuters to the Washington Post, BBC News from the U.K. and Vanity Fair jumped on the story.

So what can we learn from this popular press release?

What Works:
  • Strong News Hook. Diageo subtly introduced the name of Casamigos’ famous co-founder in the second paragraph. Although the spirits company could have played up Clooney’s name even higher, including one of Hollywood’s leading men in the headline would have probably looked cheap. And besides, the media were going to run with it anyway. The press release did a good job building on the Names Make News hook by explaining high up how Clooney and his co-founders will remain with Casamigos after the deal closes.
  • Big Numbers. Diageo’s lead paragraph highlights the huge financial windfall that Casamigos gets, which obviously attracted the media’s attention. And, of course, $1 billion is a nice round number for headline writers to use.
What Doesn’t Work:
  • Too Much Jargon. Acquisitions provide an opportunity to not only communicate with investors, but also use the limelight to raise the brand’s profile with customers. This announcement about a product people enjoy with friends is filled with industry speak: “participation in the tequila category,” “economic profit positive” and “accessible taste profile.” Clooney did a better job in a separate statement sent to some media. “We’ll still be very much a part of Casamigos. Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two,” Clooney said.
  • Missing Data and Missing Trend. Diageo said the tequila business is growing fast, but it didn’t back up this claim. They could have provided journalists with growth numbers and a nice quote on why premium tequila is doing so well. Diageo also could have highlighted the trend that “super-premium,” artisanal and craft liquor is gaining popularity.
What We’ve Learned: How to Use Big Names

While most of us don’t have access to celebrities like George Clooney, even for smaller companies there is still a lesson to be learned. The next time you write a press release see if you can highlight a big name, such as the prestigious company that a new hire used to work for or a local celebrity speaking at your event.

A general rule of thumb is that the bigger the name, the more subtle you have to be. In the Casamigos example, Diageo subtly mentioned the big name and still nearly every news outlet highlighted Clooney and illustrated the story with a picture of him sipping tequila in an agave field. And whenever you decide to use a big name in a press release, consider including a quote from the celebrity — local or otherwise. Journalists love to use those in their stories.

Check out Diageo’s press release here and let me know in the comments section below why you think it was so effective and what lessons you will likely apply in your next press release.

Marcel van de Hoef is co-founder of Publiqly, whose Workflows help small and mid-sized companies write press releases that journalists and bloggers can’t ignore. Were you forwarded this post? Sign up to receive our weekly press release lessons directly in your inbox.

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