The video for R&B singer Jason Derulo’s latest single, “If I’m Lucky,” dropped Friday morning, featuring a heist, love on the run and a certain craft vodka made in Durham.
In Derulo’s video, Graybeard Distillery’s Bedlam Vodka can be seen front and center in a number of shots inside a bar. Derulo and his love interest take shots of Bedlam in the first minute of the video, as do the two bad guys who pursue them later on.
It’s the latest high-profile appearance for the company, which just launched last year and whose bottles arrived in stores in May. After winning a major spirits industry award in May, it was the exclusive vodka poured at ESPN’s official ESPY Awards pre-party in Los Angeles.
Now Derulo’s video is introducing it to the world – including his millions of Instagram, Twitter and YouTube followers.
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Advisory: The video may have some racy content.
The primo product placement is a result of a mid-August deal Bedlam did with iHeartMedia to sponsor stages for new and emerging artists at the company’s radio stations in Raleigh and Charlotte.
“We heard there was an opportunity for a product placement deal in the new Jason Derulo video shooting in the next week or two,” Greybeard CEO Brandon Evans said. “We thought it was a perfect match for our particular ambiance and packaging. But we had about 24 hours to get the product to them out in Hollywood.”
The vodka arrived on time, safe and sound. Bedlam’s smoky gray bottle and logo of a two-headed raven looks at home in Derulo’s video as the R&B star sings – “Vodka on my lips, took too many drinks, makes me reminisce, all the way down” – about a relationship that didn’t work out in life, but perhaps may in the afterlife, if he’s lucky.
Evans said they’re big fans of the video – officially titled “If I’m Lucky Part 1” – and are thrilled with the part their vodka plays. In addition to the shot in the beginning (at the :35 mark), it shows up again toward the end (at the 4:08 mark).
“We’re extremely excited about it; Jason’s last video (“Swalla”) had something like 700 million views, so the opportunity to be part of something like that is pretty special,” Evans said. “The video is phenomenal and we could not be happier with the use of the product placement.”
Derulo’s companion lyric video to “If I’m Lucky” already has racked up 19 million views since it was released Sept. 1.
When Bedlam landed the ESPYs deal this July, the vodka, which uses long-grain white rice from Louisiana in the distilling process, had only been on North Carolina shelves for a couple months. The distillery has since added distribution to South Carolina and Georgia and has plans to expand into states like California soon.
“(The ESPYs) gave us some legitimacy as a brand,” Evans said. “Our goal has always been to embrace our North Carolina roots, but come out as a national brand. To be exposed like that on an awards show was a big catapult for us. ... In North Carolina specifically we heard feedback from ABC stores that customers were requesting Bedlam because they had heard about it through the ESPYs, literally from the coast to the mountains.”
The Derulo exposure could jolt the company even farther and faster. Other deals are already lining up.
At November’s Country Music Awards, musicians will be sipping Bedlam-only cocktails in the Bedlam Vodka Green Room, which itself will be festooned with the company’s image. Is the young company ready for the big stage?
“Well, our philosophy is go big or go home,” Evans said. “When we set out to make this company, we wanted Bedlam to be a national brand, but didn’t know exactly how to achieve it. From the start we’ve been able to have production levels sustain marketing as it comes along. So we’re not worried about it at all. We’re welcoming any kind of brand growth that comes. We’re poised.”
Drew Jackson; 919-829-4707; @jdrewjackson