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June 20, 2006

Cristal - An Uneasy Relationship With The Customer


Even if you don’t know much about wine, you’ve probably heard of Cristal Champagne. Made by the house of
Louis Roederer, Cristal has always enjoyed a position of ultra prestige. Even from day one, when it was created for Czar Alexander II in the 19th Century, this extravagant wine in its distinctive clear glass bottle has been enjoyed by royalty, aristocracy and the super rich for over 100 years.

More recently, the stars of Hip-Hop and Rap have taken Cristal to their hearts and made it their own. Ever since Sean "P Diddy" Coombes famously served the wine at a lavish party, Cristal has become the only Champagne to be seen with by a rapidly growing, wealthy, young, high octane, black community.

It seems to have got to the point where its new followers would rather not drink Champagne at all if Cristal is unavailable. How many brands can boast such loyal customers?

It is possible, however, that the party might be over.

In a recent article, rapper Jay-Z, (who has even written songs about Cristal), accused Roederer boss, Frederic Rouzaud of racism after he described the phenomena of Cristal having become the darling of “Bling Culture” as “Unwelcome attention”.

Rule one – Respect your customers. Rule two – See rule one!

Posted by nick at June 20, 2006 9:04 AM

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Bit of shame this. Rouzaud never actually called it 'unwelcome attention', that was actually a cross-head (sort of a mini headline) written by a sub-editor (the person who checks the spelling and wrtes the headlines in an article). All he aid was that he was not specifically aiming his marketing at this consumer segment.

Posted by: Jack Hibberd at June 26, 2006 12:20 PM

It's still a bling culture right ?

Posted by: Roman at July 9, 2006 12:19 AM

Jack, did you read the original interview?

The interview with the CEO of Cristal was conducted by The Economist magazine.
Title: Bubbles and Bling
Author: Gideon Rachman
The interview can be found here: http://www.economist.com/intelligentlife/luxury/displayStory.cfm?story_id=6905921

Direct from the article: "Asked if an association between Cristal and the bling lifestyle could actually hurt the brand, he replies: “That’s a good question, but what can we do? We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.”"

I think it's pretty clear what that means: We do not want your business so give it to someone else.

Strange. I guess the people at Cristal don't like money.

Posted by: Kal at July 13, 2006 3:10 PM

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