Bolt toasts business career with launch of new champagne

Bolt toasts business career with launch of new champagne

Observer writer

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

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While Jamaica's icon of track and field, Usain Bolt, is leaving his career in sport behind and delving into the field of business, the glitz and glamour that followed him through each successful stage of his record-breaking path as an athlete shows no sign of abating. This was evident in South Africa where he launched his new signature champagne Mumm Olympe Rosé last Thursday at a press conference in South Africa.

Bolt was in South Africa as one of the co-hosts of Sun Met, an illustrious and acclaimed horse-racing event known as Africa's richest race day. The famous show is not just focused on horse racing but has become a gathering place for socialites, popular personalities and fashionistas.

This year's Sun Met was no different with celebrities like Miss South Africa 2018, Tamaryn Green, Zimbabwean-born MTV Base presenter, Kim Jayde, South African singer Lady Zamar and many others being present either as guests or as part of the proceedings.

The celebrity status that has been afforded to Bolt over the years as a result of his earth-shattering accomplishments in Track and Field makes him an excellent vehicle for publicity and it therefore came as no surprise when GH Mumm, makers of Bolt's Mumm Olympe Rosé, appointed him as their Chief Entertainment Officer (CEO) in 2016 with a mandate to be a spokesperson and create innovative initiatives to inspire consumers to celebrate with Mumm champagne.

GH Mumm – the sponsors of Sun Met in South Africa – is an internationally recognised, prestigious Champagne House based in France. Insider Monkey, a financial website specialising in free insider trading and hedge fund data, has ranked them as the fourth largest producer of champagne in the world.

In 2018 GH Mumm utilised the services of their CEO for an audacious, never-been-done-before launch of the world's first zero-gravity champagne. The event involved Bolt flying in a special plane that reproduces weightlessness in which the player could test-drink the product.

Naturally, the occasion which combined this unprecedented marketing strategy with the global popularity of Jamaica's most famous sprinter received widespread coverage in international media.

Mumm champagne has long been associated with the celebration of sporting victories and other accomplishments and is well known as a sponsor of sporting events and races in the past and present, including Sun Met in South Africa, Formula One and Formula E racing, Australia's Melbourne Cup and the Kentucky Derby. The brand is also connected to adventurers and explorers including commandant Charcot on his expedition to the Antarctic in 1904.

It therefore appears to be a no-brainer that a collaboration between the company and Bolt to roll out a champagne associated with the multiple record-breaking Olympian would be a promising marketing move at the very least. From the excitement generated in South Africa around the launch which was closely tied to Sun Met it would seem the venture achieved the buzz that would be expected from such an occasion.

As Bolt was introducing his champagne, Dan Nicholl, wine enthusiast and producer of the prime time The Dan Nicholl Show in South Africa which features various celebrity guests, did a tasting of the champagne not far from the press conference. The tasting was for his online show Dan Really Likes Wine.

“It's a pretty appropriate brand for Usain Bolt to be involved with, because let's face it, he's spent most of his life celebrating and then stopping and turning around and waiting for everybody else to finish whatever race he has been part of,” Nicholl joked after commenting positively on the champagne.

Pictures of the champagne as it was unveiled at the recent press conference have been circulating on various social media. People Magazine South Africa tweeted a video from the press conference that alluded to why the Jamaican sportsman had chosen to launch Mumm Olympe Rosé in their country. The tweet read “@usainbolt on why his champagne is being launched in SA. South Africans love to dance and celebrate! #nextvictory”. In the video clip, the Jamaican athlete and businessman expressed that South Africa felt like home because it is the only place he has ever been to where he danced so much.

Indeed, the party spirit of Usain Bolt which has been much publicised over the years caused even more chatter in South African media when he challenged South African actress, singer and radio personality Unathi to a dance-off during the weekend of Sun Met's revelry.

The female celebrity claimed that she won the challenge posting a video on Instagram and boasting that, “The FASTEST man on earth challenges me to a get down dance-off. At first I tried HUMBLY to decline saying, 'Bruv as much as I could never challenge you to a 100m sprint I don't think you want to challenge an African child to a dance challenge. Our squat game is for the gods of WAKANDA.' He insisted. “As you can see I WON.”

This kind of exposure at the level of popular celebrities on social media is precisely the kind of response that companies who may seek to collaborate in future joint ventures with Bolt would aspire to generate.

It is not surprising that with the launch of Mumm Olympe Rosé and at this transitional stage of his career following the relinquishment of his dream to pursue professional football, business news channel CNBC Africa sought to catch up with the 32-year-old Jamaican Olympian.

In an interview with CNBC Africa's Lubabalo Mashiqana, Usain Bolt explained his personal reasons for embarking on ventures such as his collaboration with GH Mumm.

“As you can see I am trying to diversify now.” he explained. “I mean I am trying to go into business because I have done a lot in sports and it's like, you know what, I want to start a new chapter of my life. So this is why I am doing collabs with Mumm champagne. I have done collabs with Hublot also.”

Following the launch of the new champagne at last week's press conference, the announcement also came via Bolt's website.

According to the website, the name of Jamaica's world-famous Olympic icon is inscribed in gold on the glass of his new champagne bottle, while the initials OR (Olympe Rosé) can be found on the neck of the bottle. The uniquely designed bottle is the creation of Ross Lovegrove, an English designer. The champagne itself is said to carry “fruity aromas of Pinot Meunier and the delicate nature of Chardonnay” as well as “notes of vanilla and caramel”.

“I'm very proud to have been part of creating Mumm OlympeRosé,” Bolt is quoted as saying on his web page. “It's a sweet champagne that defies convention and breaks new ground – two things that Maison Mumm and myself have in common. I've always been associated with celebrations and this one is on its way to become iconic!”

It is expected that the “Mumm Olympe Rosé” champagne will soon make its appearance in the Usain Bolt's Tracks & Records sports bars in Kingston, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and London as the word-famous Jamaican track star transitions from the glitz and glamour of sporting glory to the glitz and glamour of international business.








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