To engage a more diverse audience, Smirnoff takes inspiration from the NFL
The vodka brand’s latest campaign looks to satisfy parent company Diageo’s lofty diversity agenda.
Smirnoff has launched one of its biggest campaigns in recent history with ‘We Do We’, a global brand platform that will play out through various music and sport partnerships.
Stephanie Jacoby, global senior vice-president and brand director at Smirnoff, told The Drum that the work will fuel its agenda to be more diverse in its advertising. “Music is a place that culturally gives a voice to inclusivity and representation all over the world,” she says.
As part of the ‘We Do We’ media plan, Smirnoff will sponsor The BET Awards, strengthened its partnership with Spotify with a focus on empowering women in music across Latin America and extend its tie-up with Billboard for its US and Latin America awards.
Jacoby likened it to the all-encompassing strategy employed by brands like the NFL, saying she hopes Smirnoff will have the same uniting power. “The NFL in the US has a really big platform that brings lots of consumers together and it’s traveling more and more around the world,” she says. “We know that the NFL audience is an increasingly diverse consumer”.
The ‘We do We’ campaign is Smirnoff’s biggest global platform in years dropping in over 20 markets. It’s the first work to come out of McCann New York after Smirnoff appointed it as its global agency of record. To ensure on and off-screen diversity Smirnoff recruited the London/LA collective ManvsMachine to direct and produce the key campaign assets.
“It feels really great to get out there with a big global message that we know is going to resonate really strongly from Brazil to the US to GB to Brazil, to Colombia to India,” Jacoby says.
Jacoby’s media strategy is in keeping with Diageo’s wider ambition to invest in media partners that are driving diversity and inclusion. Diageo plans to spend 15% of its global media investment on diverse voices and media by 2030. The company has already gone some way to achieving this in 2022 having spent $527m on diverse-owned suppliers – 65% more than the year before.
Diageo’s global chief marketing officer Cristina Diezhandino has previously told The Drum it’s a “hard” goal to achieve because it requires several initiatives, external help and training. “It’s not just a matter of will.” Jacoby echoed Diezandino’s thought when she said: “We are still very much on a journey and it’s still very much a process”.
Diageo thinks of diverse media in two ways, Jacoby explains, looking at media platforms that are diverse-owned, as well as bigger, more mainstream media platforms that champion diverse stories and representation. “It’s really about solving it both ways to get to the scale that a brand like Smirnoff needs,” she adds.
Suggested newsletters for you
Brief behind ‘We Do We’
The end of the Covid lockdown years inspired the campaign, Jacoby explains. “It feels like coming out of a time when we’ve been more apart than together, that rallying cry felt really right and really timely,” she says. “That time apart left us craving time together more than ever before and really realizing how fundamentally important that is to our happiness.”
Color is an essential part of the creative, Jacoby adds: “It just felt like the right time for us to come out with a message that is both joyful and full of vibrancy and color.”
Balancing the local and global was essential to ensure the campaign was representative. “When we think about being in culture, which I mentioned, was so important to what Smirnoff does, the ability to really localize what we do, we mean in markets around the world, and for those markets to be able to activate that in meaningful ways and then amplify, through social media.
In the UK for example, the ‘We do We’ platform is running as ‘We do Us’. “There is a unique colloquialism in British language around ‘We do We’, and so ‘We do Us’ was felt to be a much clearer articulation of the intention behind the message.
“In a world where we’re constantly told to focus on ourselves, it’s becoming more apparent that we’re all yearning to be part of something bigger,” Jacoby concludes. “‘We Do We’ is our rallying cry to embrace the power of the collective.”