Cuervo embarks upon its first hip-hop effort

NEW YORK: Tequila maker Jose Cuervo is running a national hip-hop lifestyle talent search, Cuervoton National Hispanic Urban Music Competition.

NEW YORK: Tequila maker Jose Cuervo is running a national hip-hop lifestyle talent search, Cuervoton National Hispanic Urban Music Competition.

The five-month effort, ending in May, features hip-hop artists Chingo Bling, DJ Tony Touch, with co-sponsors Machete Music, BRIDGEZ Magazine, Liebeat, and Wu-Tang Latino. The push centers on a national search for new Latino artists.

Bevin Gove, PR director, Jose Cuervo International, said the effort was developed by executives from his company, Diageo North America (Jose Cuervo's US marketing and distribution partner), US Concepts, and RL Public Relations.

"RL has been responsible for generating publicity around the program and its mission," he said, adding that elements include media tours and events featuring Cuervoton spokespeople, Bling, and Touch.

Semifinal events for the search are being held in Miami, Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix, with finals to take place in New York City in late May. In LA, the program is being executed in partnership with LifeBeat, the music industry fights AIDS organization, and will include a showcase of local talent in April.

Cuervo is the number-one tequila brand in the US, according to Adams Beverage Group. In 2004, the US accounted for 50% of Mexican tequila exports, and imported roughly $400 million in tequila.

"It grew 9% last year," said Eric Schmidt, research director at Adams, adding that 27% of US Hispanics consume tequila, versus 18.2% of Caucasians and 11.4% of African Americans.

Gove noted that the Cuervoton effort and its focus on hip-hop and urban lifestyle is a new one for Cuervo.

"It is designed to [provide] emerging Latino artists a platform to get exposure through competitions and performances nationwide," he said.

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