Smirnoff shifts to summer to increase sales

The Diageo brand targets the early-summer season for the first time, with a Canadian-specific TV and digital campaign.

Beers are what tend to saturate ad space during the summer, less likely so when it comes to spirits. Smirnoff, in fear of being eclipsed by the brews, typically waits for the holiday season to promote its vodka.

However the spirit brand has had a change of heart, rolling out a campaign when few category competitors are in market, in order to grow sales by 5%, says Rodolfo Aldana, marketing director, Smirnoff.

“This year, we moved [our advertising] to the start of the summer,” he adds. “We realized that by doing so we will have a better performance in the market.”

The “Smirnoff Red Door Party” contest arrived last week with commercials introducing viewers to the Diageo brand’s first Facebook initiative that exists only in Canada. It worked with JWT on the creative, MediaCom on the planning and purchasing, along with Traffik Group on the digital execution and Mosaic leading the experiential component.

For the first time, Smirnoff is advertising the contest – where consumers are invited to “like” its Facebook page for the chance to win a flight, accommodation and tickets to its Red Door Party in Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto – on radio through a partnership with Virgin stations. “We realized that radio was underutilized by spirits. We usually hear beer on radio, we never did it historically,” says Aldana of the change in strategy which he hopes will better target consumers legal drinking age to 29-years-old.

Starting next month, the vodka brand will be making 120 cross-country appearances outside LCBO stores with a truck and two bartenders. The experiential component will see the ambassadors handing out free mixers to each person that purchases a bottle of Smirnoff vodka in the store. They will also give out advice on how to entertain and make cocktails.

In addition, the brand will be in clubs and bars this summer, with a total of 80 mini Red Door Party’s to give consumers a taste of what to expect if they win the main prize event.