* New cream liqueur hits shelves on Thursday
* Part of Diageo's push to attract women drinkers
By Martinne Geller
NEW YORK, July 14 U.S. hip-hop artist and
designer Pharrell Williams has a special treat for the ladies
and Diageo PLC (DGE.L) is bringing it to them.
The world's largest spirits company, which also developed
Ciroc vodka with rap mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs, is launching a
new dessert-inspired liqueur on Thursday called Qream.
Qream (pronounced like "cream") targets women who like ice
cream and comes in two flavors: strawberry creme and peach
creme. Its suggested retail price is $29.99 per bottle.
Alcoholic drink makers like Diageo, and rivals Pernod
Ricard (PERP.PA) and Fortune Brands FO.N, have set more of
their sights on female drinkers in recent years, with
everything from flavored vodkas to fruity malt beverages to
low-calorie ready-to-drink margaritas.
Qream is the brain child of Williams, the Grammy
award-winning American music producer, singer and fashion
designer, who claims to not be much of a drinker himself.
He said he wanted to design a drink that would make people,
especially women, feel comfortable about having something
"I think there's such a stigma in the world about
indulgence, making people feel guilty," Williams said in a
telephone interview. He said he was also inspired by the fact
that chocolate and other sweets were resilient in a recession.
"Those things release endorphins. That means it brings joy
to people," he said.
Still, a 4-ounce glass of Qream has only roughly as many
calories as a glass of white wine, according to officials at
Diageo, who said they were impressed with Williams' idea.
"What was great about it was his vision actually dovetailed
very nicely with Diageo's focus on marketing to women," said
Anna MacDonald, Diageo USA's marketing director for liqueurs.
Qream -- with a logo that evokes a royal seal and a Q
inspired by the word "queen" -- is the second product developed
specifically for women from London-listed Diageo, after Godiva
vodka, launched last year. Other recent products, such as Jose
Cuervo Light Margarita and Seagrams 7 Dark Honey whiskey, are
developed with men and women in mind, MacDonald said.
MacDonald declined to give sales targets for Qream or
details about the financial arrangement between Diageo and
In addition to being part of the production duo The
Neptunes and the band N.E.R.D., Williams has founded fashion
lines Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream, and has collaborated
with Louis Vuitton and artist Takashi Murakami.
And at the end of the day, the artist said he was attracted
by the chance to express himself on a new platform.
"I've done it in visual art. I've done it in design. I've
done it in music. And now we're covering gustatory," Williams
said. "One day you may look up and there'll be an olfactory
presentation in some sort of fragrance. I just want to continue
to please the senses of our species."
(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Richard Chang)