An Arnold Palmer (or, if you’re from Baltimore, a half-and-half) is one of the best drinks you can have, in just about any situation. It’s half lemonade and half iced tea, and it will make an oppressive summer afternoon a tiny bit breezier. And now it will apparently come with “exclusive content” from Jay Z, because god knows that’s what the drink was missing. Jay is now selling the 40/40, an “Arnold Palmer-like drink,” named after Jay’s nightclub chain. The drink goes for $1.99 a bottle, and you probably won’t be shocked to learn that it’s part of some grand new corporate-branding masterplan.
The longtime music executive Kevin Liles is behind the beverage line Go ’N Syde, which is marketing both Jay’s 40/40 and Mariah Carey’s new pink lemonade concoction Butterfly. (Liles is also the guy who says D’Angelo will definitely have an album out this year.) Talking to Billboard, Liles has laid out the whole strategy of these drinks, which shows just how desperate music-business people are to find new revenue streams in an era when nobody buys music. The idea of these drinks — and the reason they’re selling for twice what they probably should be selling — is the idea that you can use your phone to scan a code on them and get closer to these big superstar types. The Go ’N Syde people have built a whole greenscreen studio just to make this stuff happen.
Here’s what he says those bottles of 40/40 will offer:
If you think about 40/40, you think about sports, you think about great events, you think about having fun, you think about, “Hey, when Jay’s going on tour with Beyonce, how do I get VIP access?” We have video, galleries, contesting, all sorts of things. Some of the content up there now is just stuff that happened at the club, and we’re in the process of uploading video from Jay. They’re committed to releasing exclusive things: sometimes you might have a world premiere, go to a 40/40 bottle and check out this new song from Jay-Z. Mariah, too. I’m working with all the partners to come up with experiences that are unparalleled on any other network.
“I sold kilos of coke, so I’m guessing I can sell an Arnold Palmer-like drink with exclusive downloadable VIP video access.” — Jay Z.
40/40 and Butterfly are already available in a few locations and selling about 1,000 bottles a week. They’ll soon expand into 7,500 Walgreens and Duane Reade stores nationwide. Meanwhile, those tall cans of Arizona Arnold Palmer go for 99 cents, and you don’t have to deal with the idea of behind-the-scenes photo galleries when you buy them.