January 15, 2013

Pharrell Williams has sued Diageo, the liquor-distributor giant, over what he claims was a failure to properly market his Q Qream liqueur. Among other complaints Williams is presenting in his $5m law suit, he claims that the liqueur was promoted as a “club drink” instead of a “high end, leisure class beverage” (via).

“It is unfortunate that the plaintiffs chose to bring this lawsuit, as Diageo believes the plaintiffs’ claims lack merit,” they wrote in an email to Adweek. QREAM Creme Liqueur continues to be available for sale as one of the many new-to-world brands originating from Diageo’s innovation pipeline.”

Are you sure that’s the specific pipeline it originated from, because it all kind of sounds to me like this brand was pulled out of something else. Here’s what they say about the brand in the marketing materials:

Listen to a song by Pharrell Williams and try to put it into only one category. Impossible, considering the producer and performer mixes sounds and genres effortlessly, right?¬†So it’s no surprise that when he created a liqueur, he also made sure it would cross boundaries.Available in strawberry or peach, this first of its kind liqueur (12.5 ABV) can be served on the rocks, mixed for cocktails or deliciously baked into cupcakes, pastries and more. The choices are endless…and all delicious.

Seemed so hopeful at the time didn’t they? Combine a risky product with lackluster marketing, not to mention stiff competition from the Wu-Tang Clan’s Q.R.E.A.M. Get The Money liqueur, and you can see where things all went wrong.

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