November 2009

UpFront with SVEDKA Vodka

By: Rachel Burkons

Photos by: Rob Brown

If there’s one thing that SVEDKA is not, it’s boring. Everything about the brand—from its dynamic marketing campaign, to its sleek and modern packaging, to its vibrant, fun-loving demographic—oozes cool, a factor that has not only helped shape the young brand into one of the hippest vodka calls on the market today, but is also propelling SVEDKA’s astronomical sales towards a self-proclaimed, yet not unrealistic title as “the number-one vodka of the year 2033."

   When SVEDKA launched seven years ago, the Swedish import was a young upstart edging its way into an already crowded marketplace. With vodka after vodka touting its origin, distillation process, base ingredients or packaging, the SVEDKA team saw an opportunity to break away from the mold. “We decided to zig when everybody else was zagging,” explains Marina Hahn, Chief Marketing Officer at SVEDKA. “There was a sense that there was a missing link in the vodka category, and this big, empty white space was called fun."

SVEDKA boldly sailed into uncharted waters, steering away from the buttoned-down marketing that dominated the industry and moving toward the future. “Everyone was treating vodka like something so serious, and we just wanted to reclaim vodka as something it should be: fun,” says Hahn.  “We wanted to challenge the established brands and own fun. We also decided to own a space that no one could truly possess: the future.”

The SVEDKA solution was to create its own unique world and vision of the year 2033—a vision that consumers couldn’t help but fall in love with. At the center of SVEDKA’s futuristic word is SVEDKA_Grl, the sexiest robot you’re ever likely to encounter. Created by legendary Hollywood special effects designer Stan Winston, SVEDKA_Grl is the face of the brand and embodies a funky, optimistic vision of tomorrow.

“SVEDKA_Grl is the Marlboro Man of the future,” Hahn explains of the digital fembot. “She epitomizes fun-loving confidence and encourages people to loosen up and be their flirtatious selves. She travels with the brand, and is everywhere at once, which allows her to become a part of pop culture."

With SVEDKA_Grl’s coy, ever-present grin leading the way, the brand’s unique marketing has helped capture an audience that shares SVEDKA’s optimistic, fun-centric attitude. SVEDKA_Grl invites consumers to “Party like it’s 2033.” The national ad campaign features cheeky slogans like, “Once you go fembot you never go back,” and “I text, therefore IM."

This campaign, in conjunction with a series of intriguing “SVEDKA Adult Playground 2033” events, gives consumers a peek into SVEDKA’s world. The call to the future is working. The brand is experiencing the fastest growth trajectory in the spirits industry—ever. In just a few short years, SVEDKA has become the third most imported vodka in the country, and has recently surpassed the two million case mark—not to mention growing its sales by 50% in the last year alone. 

Shad Mazepa, On-Premise Specialist for SVEDKA, and Charlie Burfield, Key Account Specialist for Southern Wine & Spirits, enjoy a classic SVEDKA Martini at Crustacean in Beverly Hill, where SVEDKA is selling very well.

A consumer- (and recession-) friendly price point, combined with SVEDA’s fantastic line of smooth, 80-proof, Swedish winter wheat vodkas, have laid the foundation for the brand’s growth. “You have to have a great product to begin with, and you can’t live on price alone,” admits Hahn. “Consumers are looking for image, great value, and quality product and something they can connect to on an emotional level, so we offer it all."

SVEDKA’s flavored line bolsters sales in the largest flavor segments in the vodka category. Vanilla, Raspberry and Citron are joined by the only Clementine flavored vodka on the market, and all four fresh-tasting flavors are heralded by foodies, mixologists and chefs for their layered flavor profiles that are not only mixable and food-friendly, but lovely served neat.

While SVEDKA is modern-day powerhouse, the brand keeps its eye on the future, continually striving to hit that number one spot. At the rate SVEDA is going, it may happen way sooner than 2033.

On-Premise with SVEDKA

The Vodka of The Future Takes a Twist on the Classics

SVEDKA may be the number one vodka of the year 2033, but at Beverly Hills hotspot Crustecean, it is one of the most popular calls today, for both consumers and trade. At the restaurant’s recently-launched Service Industry Night (S.I.N. for short), waitstaff, bartenders, somms and chefs at some of the nearby swanky bars and restaurants are invited for an after-hours party that features SVEDKA bottle service—for free to two randomly-selected guests.

“We wanted to keep the local service industry in Beverly Hills, because after a certain hour, there’s nothing open,” explains General Manager Will Primavera. “So we started this night and offer great food, great drinks and great music."

Southern Wine and Spirits Account Specialist Charlie Burfield finds SVEDKA is a perfect fit for industry professionals looking to unwind. “People drink vodka to have fun,” he says. “I think that SVEDKA’s campaign to tap into that is smart.” Primavera also taps into SVEDKA to create some of his signature seasonal cocktails, including the Chai Pumpkin Martini, an ideal platform for SVEDKA Vanilla.

“I love this vanilla,” says Primavera. “A lot of vanilla vodkas are too vanilla, but the SVEDKA is really nicely balanced and allows you to taste what the essence should be.”

Crustacean General Manager Will Primavera has created the perfect fall cocktail using SVEDKA Vanilla: the Chai Pumpkin Martini.  The Red Lotus: SVEDKA Raspberry over cotton candy, a cocktail that's perfectly aligned with SVEDKA's fun, futuristic vibe.

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