April 2012

Still Painting the Town (RED)

Elyse Glickman

Mary J. Blige live on stage at Avalon Hollywood.

Historic Hollywood venue Avalon was adorned with scarlet and silver embellishments that would have made Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann stand up and take notice. It was the perfect showcase for R&B singer Mary J. Blige and her band to take the stage with a pre-Grammy performance that proved as memorable as the award show itself. As the by-invitation audience waited for the superstar to make her entrance, they could sip refreshing cocktails tailored to their personality and music preference, suggested by a special Apple iPad app.

Chelsea Handler signs a bottle of BELVEDERE (RED).
It was glamour for a good cause: (RED), whose corporate partners and events have generated over $180 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This money, which Belvedere Vodka has helped raise in the past year, has supported HIV/AIDS programs that have reached more than 7.5 million people affected by the disease in Africa.

Over lunch at the newly-opened L.A. outpost of New York City “day club”/restaurant Bagatelle, Belvedere Vodka President Charles Gibb basked in the afterglow of this highly successful production, which marked the start of Belvedere’s second year of partnership with (RED).

“(RED) and Belvedere are perfect partners for a number of reasons,” Gibb affirms. “Though we could do small campaigns on a local basis, we decided to put all of our eggs in this one basket and do something special on a very large, upscale platform amid the 35 countries we’re available in. Also, (RED) has such an impressive list of partners, including Apple, Nike, Gap and Converse, which adds to the scale of activation in what we’re doing for the cause.”

In the house: Natasha Bedingfield

The (RED)-inspired packaging contains the same Belvedere Vodka enthusiasts have always enjoyed—unadulterated and naturally smooth—made with Dankowskie Gold rye and distilled four times. However, Gibb points out that when consumers buy this bottle, they make a statement and have confidence in knowing that a portion of the purchase goes toward that specific cause.

“What’s nice about the (RED) business model is that it is very simple,” Gibb explains “When you a buy a bottle of (BELVEDERE) RED Special Edition (SRP $29.99—same as the regular bottling of Belvedere), Belvedere donates 50% of our profits from the sale to the Global Fund, which in turn, goes straight to fighting HIV in Africa, straight to the front line, to help eradicate the mother-to-child transference of HIV by 2015.”

While Belvedere is one of America’s most requested vodka “hits,” Gibb notes that the brand’s presence in California and the prominence of (BELVEDERE) RED the week before the Grammy awards is important to the brand’s overall success, as well as continuing momentum of (BELVEDERE) RED’s charitable outreach on- and off-premise.

“Through the Mary J. Blige concert, we’ve gotten the ball rolling on our second year,” says Gibb. “This gives consumers, bartenders and retailers all kinds of inspiration on how they can use the product. This year, you will see more activity in the California market, with more bars, restaurants and retailers telling us they want to do something or other with (BELVEDERE) RED. This includes themed cocktails, events and promotions.”

As Belvedere and (RED) begin their second year of partnership, Gibb anticipates that the campaign will see results as phenomenal as those coming out its first year. However, he does acknowledge the entire Belvedere team will be working hard to make it live up to its full potential.

“What I like about this relationship is that by committing to (RED) over a period of two or three years, we can reach everybody from consumers to bartenders to professionals buying for restaurants, bars and clubs and retailers. They help build the association over time. If you do [a charitable endeavor] once, it is an action. If you do it over a period of time, it is a commitment.”

A (Red)Y-To-Go Cocktail From The 2012 Pre-Grammys Concert

(BELVEDERE) RED Crimson Squeeze
• 1½ oz. (BELVEDERE) RED
• 3 oz. pomegranate juice
• 3 oz. Fever-Tree Ginger Ale
• Build in a highball glass over cubed ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge.


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