Smirnoff’s bold plan to make vodka ‘inclusive’ not ‘exclusive’

Diageo is launching a global marketing campaign to introduce a “fresh” voice for its Smirnoff brand and break away from some of the premiumisation the vodka category has come to be associated with in recent years.

The drinks maker says the “Exclusively for Everybody” push celebrates the brand’s belief that “exclusivity for a few is less fun than good times for all”. It is a direct riposte to recent efforts from premium brands such as Russian Standard Vodka and Grey Goose that have sought to market the category as exclusive and aspirational.

The idea is depicted through an online film and six 30-second spots, which chart the trials and tribulations two friends go through to host the perfect house party. In one spot set in store, one of the friends picks out a bottle that is “filtered through uncut diamonds”, which is dismissed as being “just a fancy way of saying its strained through rocks” by her companion. The skit continues until the two come to the Smirnoff shelf, claiming it has “no claim to fame, its just really good vodka”.

Another advert (see below) sees a bouncer being instructed to let “Everybody” into the party, including “models”, “a vodka connoisseur”, a “indie rock band” and a man in a “super-deep” V-neck t-shirt. Other adverts continue the humorous tone alongside Facebook and Twitter activity relating to the party theme.

Smirnoff is also running the “Ultimate House Party” competition with Spotify. Fans who submit songs for a house party to the music streaming service are entered into a sweepstake for the chance to win one of four epic parties held in their hometown.

Dan Kleinman, US brand director of Smirnoff, says: “Smirnoff was created to be enjoyed by everyone, from Czars and Hollywood stars to you and your friends in the bar down the street. We want to celebrate that we’re there for good times, wherever and however they occur.”

The campaign introduces a new creative direction for Smirnoff after it appointed 72andSunny to handle its global advertising duties last August. It moves on from nightclub positioning the vodka had built in recent years through its “Nightlife Exchange Project” global platform.

While Smirnoff controls around 6.5 per cent of the global vodka market by volume, according to Euromonitor, it is losing share in its core North American region amid tougher competition. Diageo posted a 7 per cent drop in volume sales for the region in the six months to 31 December.

It is hoped the strategy helps reverse the decline in the US as well as markets such as Russia and Eastern Europe where Diageo’s vodka brands have suffered following duty increases.