I was fortunate enough to be invited to a press conference last Thursday announcing a lucrative and groundbreaking partnership between Kiernan Forbes, famously known as AKA with Cruz Vodka on the new watermelon flavour. Following the successful signing of his multi-million rand ambassador deal with the vodka brand in 2016, today Africa’s biggest star has collaborated with Cruz Vodka to create the much-anticipated limited edition Cruz Watermelon Vodka.
This exclusive partnership is the first of its kind in Africa, ranking on the same level as international deals for Sean Combs’ partnership with Ciroc and 50 Cents’ with Vitamin Water. Under the terms of this partnership agreement, AKA is going beyond the typical endorser/ambassador role to share in the vodka’s profit split per bottle sold throughout Africa – a game changer in the South African spirit beverage industry.
Often times how people are portrayed in the media is how we expect them to be in person. And yes, the irony is not lost on me that I form part of that industry. AKA is usually portrayed as boastful, arrogant and always beefing with someone. The man I saw and listened to last night was matured, intelligent, a great business man and gave credit where credit was due. I appreciated the fact that he acknowledged his team and the hard work they did as we all know that we can’t do and achieve these heights in life without others being involved. He spoke about how the idea came to pass; he was in Thailand filming the music video for “The world is yours” and it hit him, not the watermelon, the idea to do watermelon-infused vodka. It’s been in the works for almost two years and it was definitely worth the wait.
AKA has always had a broader vision to maintain his longevity and brand influence beyond music and has become a pioneer in moulding and influencing the celebrity-brand engagement dynamic in Africa. This is aptly demonstrated by his distinctive firm approach to negotiating the best deals and the brands he engages.
The vodka itself is smooth and can be enjoyed on its own or as AKA prefers it, “1/3 Vodka, 1/3 lemonade and 1/3 tonic water”. The bottle was described by one of the attendees as “sophisticated and matured” and I definitely agree. It was created alongside his team BEAM Group and AKA took the creative lead in producing the sexy look and feel of the Cruz Watermelon Vodka packaging. Together they have refreshed the packaging from the original vintage black bottle to a crisp, white, bold and classic bottle. Cruz Watermelon Vodka is the result of an infusion of natural watermelon juice and vodka. It has an intense flavour profile with a fresh, fruity character and a crisp finish. The Cruz Watermelon Vodka limited edition launch is the first step of an exciting journey and partnership between Cruz Vodka and AKA that will establish Cruz Vodka as a trend leader in the growing vodka market. This game-changing partnership has been made possible by Cruz Vodka as they intend to empower African artists while encouraging other brands to invest rightfully within the entertainment industry and talent/artists holistically.
When asked about his latest album Touch my blood, he replied that, “it’s my best work to date and this might be my last album as I can’t possibly outdo it.” The press conference, to me, was very informative and extremely chilled with The SupaMega cracking jokes throughout. He admitted that he has grown and want to leave a legacy behind for his daughter but also for upcoming artists, showing them that it’s possible to dream big AND achieve those dreams.
The Cruz Watermelon Vodka limited edition is available at all leading retailers nationally while stock last.