Welch’s and Diddy: Enjoy responsibly

1/3 Welch’s Grape Juice, 1/3 Simply Lemonade, and 1/3 Ciroc Vodka make up the O.G. Diddy. Sound good? Below, check out the full rundown from Diddy, and watch while his personal bartender demonstrates the crucial mixing process.

In the video, Diddy insists that you have to use Welch’s as “only O.G.s know ‘bout Welch’s” (note: O.G. stands for “original gangsta” and that I actually had to look up what it means using the urban dictionary, not very O.G. of me). Then, as a guest on Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night show last week, he shared the O.G. Diddy recipe again. It’s a huge viral success—with the multitude of tweets (Diddy himself has 1.6 million followers), Facebook comments, additional YouTube videos, and exposure on NBC, this is generating some serious “free” buzz for Welch’s. This is stuff you just can’t buy it’s so genuine and real. Yet, the video on YouTube has been viewed the most by men aged 18-34, who probably know what O.G. means, likely not Welch’s traditional media target.

In fact, Welch’s is considered a family brand, maker of great tasting, high quality, healthy juices and jellies for the best PB&J sandwiches (full disclosure, they are a client) targeting moms with kids. The story of Welch’s began when Thomas Bramwell Welch and his son Charles in 1869, both teetotalers, were looking for “unfermented wine” to use during their church’s communion service.

So, on the one hand, associating the brand directly with alcohol probably isn’t high on their marketing agenda. But on the other hand, Diddy (clearly an O.G.) is a modern icon of style and hip hop cool—doesn’t that help Welch’s become more relevant to a new target audience?

I wouldn’t say this is a case of a brand getting “punk’d” by social media, as Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang defines it in his ongoing list of examples. But because it’s so uncontrolled, unexpected, and very different from how Welch’s is perceived in the market today, the brand they’ve invested millions in building—is it a good thing or a bad thing?

If you were Welch’s, what would you do? I am going to contemplate this as I watch the ice melt a bit in my O.G. Diddy…it’s really delicious.