Innovative ways Smirnoff uses to engage its Audience: Case Study

4 Min Read. |

eyebrow_vectorAbout Smirnoff

Have a party on your mind?

Think Party, think Vodka. Think Vodka, think Smirnoff!!

Smirnoff is a vodka brand owned and produced by Diageo, a British alcoholic beverages company. Vodka originated far back in the fifteenth century and the brand “Smirnoff” was founded in Moscow by Pyotr Smirnov in the 1960s. It is currently the number one selling vodka in the USA and is distributed in 130 countries across the globe. It is also produced in several countries including India. Smirnoff products include vodka, flavored vodka and malt beverages. Smirnoff is used as a beverage and as a mixer.

Business Objectives

Smirnoff’s target audience is young adults between the ages of 18-35. Smirnoff uses contemporary methods to engage them, like supporting various cultural movements that align with the trend e.g. supporting gay rights, Night life exchange project, be there campaign, etc.


Following is the brand image Smirnoff want to create-

1. Brand as a product-

 Smirnoff is a premium, reliable and trusted brand and its users are young adults. Emotionally, its users identify it as unique, youthful, and vibrant. It is a forward thinking and bold brand that stands for what it believes in.

2. Brand as an organization-

As an organization, Smirnoff supports having fun, being young at heart and being unique, special a different. Smirnoff’s brand values are originality, boldness, individuality and freedom.

3. Brand as a personality-

Smirnoff is youthful and contemporary, fun loving and different and being unapologetically who you are. 

Smirnoff’s objective is to engage its target audience and create the above mentioned brand image.

Strategy Adopted

Smirnoff, apart from the traditional channels, uses the contemporary social media like facebook, twitter, YouTube etc. to engage its audience in various ways.

Smirnoff’s facebook page is updated daily and has over 9.4 million likes and 22,600+ people following and contributing to it. Twitter has 4000+ tweets and 13.9K+ followers.

In 2013, Diageo’s CMO said ‘all marketing is digital and that his company aims to embrace innovation’. The business spent 20% of its $3bn marketing budget on digital channels.

Smirnoff made an early move. In 2006-2007, it was on Facebook and using it specifically to create buzz around real events.

Some digital media supported campaigns by Smirnoff are as follows—

1. Smirnoff “Nightlife Exchange” project

In the ‘Nightlife Exchange’ campaign, Smirnoff hosts parties themed around a particular country. It invites fans and followers and encourages them to share experiences through the social media.

The aim of the campaign was to tell the Smirnoff story and encourage its fans to share conversations, videos, images and recipes that tie to the brand’s values.

By evaluating the online conversations going on around the brand, it was discovered that people liked to transform their ordinary moments into extraordinary ones. They call it the ‘be there’ moment. The marketing team, hence, set about creating shareable content focusing on this overall theme.

Smirnoff also held competitions directed at bringing the best of international nightlife to different places around the globe and publicized it using the social.

2. Smirnoff Mindtunes

Mindtunes, an innovative project of Smirnoff, that enabled 3 differentially abled music artistes to create a dance track using their brainwaves.

Smirnoff using an ElectroEncephaloGraphy device (EEG) measured their brain activity and turned it into musical beats and sounds.

DJ Fresh reworked these sounds into finished tracks, which was then published on iTunes.

3. Smirnoff’s shoppable videos

As a part of the ‘Yours for the Making’ campaign, Smirnoff associated with Amazon and launched a YouTube channel where its users could purchase the items they viewed.

Using YouTube’s annotation feature, Smirnoff enabled its viewers to click on items that appeared in the video and buy them from a ‘Nightlife Experiences’ page on Amazon.

The videos featured ideas posted by consumers using the tag #YoursForTheMaking, which had then been recreated by a team of influential individuals from the UK music scene.

Results Achieved

Over the four months that the Nightlife Exchange campaign was held in 2011:

  • Smirnoff was able to engag more than 1m fans across the competitions and nightlife exchanges
  • The Facebook page fans increased by 427% to more than 1m
  • Smirnoff became the 3rd largest brand page in Brazil and the 1st alcoholic beverage to attain greater than 1m fans
  • Smirnoff Brazil was the 17th most engaging brand on Facebook, with 1,009 posts, 362,498 interactions, 307,822 ‘likes’ and 54,676 comments

 The MindTunes campaign gained immense traction. It formed part of the £7m #yoursforthemaking initiative that used influential individuals in the UK music and the nightlife industry to identify new nightlife ideas and experiences.

These ideas and experiences were then shared globally by the brand across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.


Smirnoff could reach a huge target base with the use of Digital Marketing in only 20% of the expense it uses in traditional marketing. Despite the fact that Smirnoff is an alcoholic beverage and has its own limitations of advertising and engaging the audience openly, it has commendably used the digital channel to create a brand image and engage and tie its customers.

Photo Credits: Smirnoff

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