Nutrl Vodka Soda’s mass-market approach

The ready-to-drink challenger brand's campaign asks consumers to "break up" with traditional alcoholic beverages.

Goodridge & Williams Distillers, a B.C. craft and independent spirits company, is growing demand for its recently launched Nütrl Vodka Soda brand through a mass-market campaign strategy.

Nütrl Vodka Soda is a three-ingredient ready-to-drink cocktail in a can containing no sugar or artificial ingredients. Since having launched in the B.C. market three months ago, the company has been running a “This. Changes. Everything.” campaign, led by agency Me&Lewis, to increase demand for the drink.

The brand is currently in stores across B.C., Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan and will be available in LCBO locations in Ontario starting in March.

The campaign includes four TV and digital spots that are running on Rogers’ Sportsnet and Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts, two 15-second radio spots on Sportsnet 650 radio and banner ads. Nütrl is also sponsoring the Vancouver Canucks post-game show and “three stars of the game” segment, which has been renamed the game’s “three best ingredients.” The brand is also running co-op Facebook ads with retailers to increase awareness and sales.

Each of the spots features someone “breaking up” with traditional drinks, suggesting that while wine, beer, coolers and multi-ingredient cocktails are great, sometimes consumers want something different.

Simi Uppal, Goodridge & Williams’ marketing director, and Adam McDonnell, the company’s managing director, say the brand wanted to take a simple, playful approach in trying to communicate that Nütrl Vodka Soda is unique in the ready-to-drink beverage category, especially since consumers were having a hard time believing the brand’s core claim: that while most other brands contain sweeteners or artificial flavours, Nütrl Vodka Soda is made entirely from Nütrl Vodka, carbonated water and natural lemon juice.

Nütrl’s target includes both men and women aged from the legal drinking age to 60 or 65 and who drink vodka sodas – one of the most popular kinds of cocktails. Reaching such a broad range of consumers is why the challenger brand decided to take a mass-market strategy.

Uppal and McDonnell say running the campaign ads on sports and hockey-related channels in particular will be an efficient way to reach that broad demographic of consumers. Hockey is no longer skews as male as it once did, McDonnell says, especially in British Columbia.

“We want to be seen as a first mover in this category,” McDonnell says. “[Nütrl Vodka Soda is] a product that is easily duplicated, so part of that mass strategy is making sure that we’re seen as a category leader.”