Jay-Z’s Latest Champagne Endorsement Still Hard To Swallow

Brian Raftery | November 8, 2006 11:39 am

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal details the partnership between Jay-Z and the makers of Armand de Brignac champagne: Last month, Jay showed off a bottle of the bubbly in the video for “Show Me What You Got,” causing some some hip-hop fans cried foul:

How the bottle got into the Jay-Z video for “Show Me What You Got” is a mystery. Speculation raged in some quarters of the media and on hip-hop Web sites about a product-placement deal between [Armand creator Brett Berish] and Jay-Z, in part because Mr. Berish’s Sovereign Brands is behind 3 vodka, a premium brand whose marketing has benefited from its association with another rapper. In a statement issued days after the video began airing in mid-October, Mr. Berish denied it was product placement. “Armand de Brignac and Jay-Z have not entered into any agreement, sponsorship or otherwise.”

In an interview, Mr. Berish said Jay-Z heard about the champagne through a mutual friend, asked for a case to be sent to him in Monaco and liked it enough to feature it in his video. “It completely took us by surprise,” Mr. Berish said.

While we’d love to believe that Jay-Z spontaneously makes his drinking decisions while kicking it alongside the French Riviera, the whole thing still seems a bit suspect to us; after all, it was Jay who bragged about being “a business, man,” not a businessman, and he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would casually endorse a product without some sort of lucrative back-end deal.

That said, the story is definitely worth a look–not only because it provides an overview of the champagne game, but also because of its repeated mentions of a French village called Chigny, which makes us giggle every time we read it.

French Bubbly Garners Hip-Hop Cred [WSJ]