By Michael MacDonald


In the early 2000s, Hpnotiq was one of the most popular liquor brands in the industry. Everyone wanted the mysterious blue bottle. The brand went from being unknown to moving a million cases a year at it’s peak, before the company was sold for $65 million.

The rise of Hpnotiq wasn’t by accident. It was triggered by a marketing plan that used “influencer marketing” before the term was trendy. The liquor was placed in Fabolous’s “Trade It All” video and skyrocketed to popularity afterwards.

Another brand with a similar but even more impressive raise to prominence, was Ciroc vodka. Ciroc was another unknown brand that went from moving 50,000 cases in 2007 to 2.6 milllion cases in 2014.

A key to Ciroc’s rise was the implementation of an extremely popular influencer program centered around popular DJ’s. The DJ’s were given the title of “Ciroc Boys” and served as brand ambassadors for the company. The “Ciroc boy” monicker grew so strong that people not affiliated with the promotional program called themselves Ciroc Boys and promoted the brand without being compensated.

The common denominator in both of these brands rise to dominance was their head of marketing and strategy, the legendary @iamnickstorm. To call Nick a marketing genius would be an understatement. He’s been a force in the music industry and nightlife scene for over 25 years. He has built relationships with some of the biggest names in the history of music and entertainment.

He implemented the marketing plans for Ciroc and Hpnotiq that would change the face of the spirits industry forever. On episode 65, Nick outlines his journey in the spirits industry and gives behind the scenes backstories on both iconic rises to prominence.

EYL #65 will be out today at 5 pm est.

Article By @rashadbilal