It definitely is not the advertising

I found Megan’s article on Constellation Brands in yesterday’s issue of Wine and Spirits Daily to be particularly interesting.

Here’s an excerpt:

Constellation may be one of the world’s largest wine companies, but its spirits brands had a phenomenal year.  Total spirits organic net sales grew 19% for the year, led by a 38% gain for its star Svedka vodka.  Svedka also recently launched it’s first-ever television advertising campaign “which marks an exciting milestone and serves as another example of how Svedka is setting itself apart in its quest to bring future fun to vodka lovers everywhere.”

The quote is from Constellation Chief Rob Sands who, in my opinion, is among the best executives in the business. Smart, knowledgeable and effective. But, obviously not an advertising maven.

Maybe it’s just me that thinks the ad campaign is ridiculous. It features a well-endowed, sexy, female robot (fembot) supposedly symbolizing the brand’s future achievements. If the marketing folks are looking to be more than a price driven brand and want to add image — keep looking.

Oh, and check out the TV campaign. I’m the guy who was there when Seagram and the industry decided to end the voluntary ban on broadcast advertising. This ad makes me think we made a mistake.

Svedka is a great brand built on hard work and smart marketing…excellent imported Vodka with high quality at a very competitive price. I’ve even been known to buy a 1.75L every now and then.

But its growth is not a function of the advertising. Its growth continues in spite of it.

Maybe mainstream advertising is not as important for brand building as it once was.

Just sayin’…

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4 comments

  1. The fact of the matter is that without the involvement of Phil Boeck, there would not have been that first TV ad in Corpus Christi Texas. Next time you see or hear a broadcast ad for spirits, think of Phil. Thanks, man.

  2. You are not alone in thinking that campaign was ridiculous.
    I cringed when I saw it for the first time.
    And I’m surprised no one has given them a hard time for ripping off the robot from the Chris Cunningham / Bjork video.

    Anyway, I am more likely to believe that SVEDKA’s growth comes from price positioning themselves as a budget vodka, below Absolut and Stoli, but appearing more premium than other value brands. Their packaging is very clean-looking and attractive on shelves.

  3. The ad campaign certainly does not resonate with me personally, but I do not think as a 36 year old I am their consumer target.

    If you look at the commercial on YouTube, you will see most of the comments are positive and based on the writing style (“Cool”, “This Rocks”, “Bad Ass”) I am assuming that most of the comments are more in Svedka’s consumer sweet spot.

    Svedka is having success because everything they do is targeted at , I will be generous, the 21 – 25 year old consumer – hence the “#1 vodka of 2033” campaign and they are priced attractively to these younger consumers.

    So, while I agree, I hate the campaign, it seems to resonate with their target consumer.

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