Smirnoff looks for relevance among millennials with ‘Electric’ liqueur launch

Diageo is launching its Smirnoff Electric range in the UK as it looks to meet changing consumer needs and ensure its brand remains relevant amid growing competition.

Smirnoff is introducing two flavoured vodkas – berry and mandarin – to the UK market. The move comes after the brand trademarked the Electric range in February this year.

The launch is being supported with a brand campaign, #WhatWeBring, which is described as the next chapter of Smirnoff’s aim of encouraging “inclusivity”. Earlier this year the brand launched its “We’re Open” campaign, which promoted the brand’s inclusive positioning in Great Britain and Ireland by targeting events such as the election and Pride in London.

The campaign sees the brand collaborating with pop artists Kiesza and Djemba Djemba to recognise how music can bring different cultures and communities together.

“Our brand purpose is all based around inclusivity. The campaign is the next phase of that story line,” Dan Hatton, marketing manager for Smirnoff WE told Marketing Week.

Changing millennial demands

The new products were launched in response to changing consumer and on-trade trends, Jennifer Rebaudo, Smirnoff’s brand manager innovation Europe added.

“Particularly the high-end retailers crave something different and millennial consumers are always looking for something new. We hope that through this product people will see Smirnoff as an innovative brand that keeps up with societal trends,” she said.

The brand also wants to recruit new drinkers.

“Our pride and joy is Smirnoff 21. While it does an incredible job for many people, there are times that it isn’t the right product. This is why we’re developing innovative, disruptive products that cater perfectly to new occasions,” Hatton explained.

“Millennial audiences also haven’t grown up with an established drinking repertoire, which means there is an opportunity for us to create new products in a contemporary way.”

Remaining relevant

Figures from IRI show that Smirnoff remains the biggest brand in the vodka category and with its value sales increasing by 7.9% year on year in the 12 months to the end of July. That outpaces growth in the wider market, with total vodka sales up 2.9% to £1.1bn.

However, other branded vodkas are experiencing stronger growth, with Russian Standards and Grants seeing its value sales grow 18.8% and 13.3% over the same period.

Hatton believes that while Smirnoff is well positioned for future growth, it cannot rests on its laurels – which is why it launched the Electric range.

“Smirnoff is in good shape in terms of the market and UK performance. This is down to strong marketing and storytelling, which makes the brand feel innovative in the minds of the millennial consumer. We need to make sure that our brand stays relevant as ever,” he concluded.

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