Much like the UK and the US government, vodka and music have a ‘special relationship’. In a US market where vodka is worth $17 billion in retail sales value, and where walking into a bar in Idaho could confront you with 450 different vodka varieties, music can offer a clear-cut point of differentiation amongst a sea of brands all vying for those hard earned dollars.
A recent report from Impact Databank, which analyses the world’s top 100 ‘high-growth’ spirits brands by retail sales value, saw the vodka category stealing a sizeable 23 places. Notably, many of the top performers have used music to bolster both awareness and, more importantly, sales.
Smirnoff, the second highest listed brand in the report (at $3.18 billion) is a prominent music collaborator, having recently joined forces with Madonna on its high profile Nightlife Exchange campaign and a free remix album. Other vodka brands ranking high among those at the pinnacle of retail sales have also utilised music to heighten awareness. Grey Goose (at $1.37 billion) teamed up with DJ A-Trak, singer songwriter Neon Hitch and singer & model VV Brown to promote its new Cherry Noir flavour, while Skyy ($610 million) recently gave away designer headphones on pack in Brazil. Not to be outdone, Ketel One ($535 million) had Brooklyn-based band Alberta Cross debut a single in its ad campaign last year and Svedka ($530 million) tapped Melina Matsoukas, who has worked on a variety of music videos for the likes of Rihanna, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, to style its ads which featured specially commissioned remixes.
It’s not to say that music is the sole reason for sales growth, but it is indicative of a certain delineation of success in this well fought category. Indeed, the above is but a taster of the much broader musical Vodka iceberg, with brands such as Absolut, Voli, Pucker - and even the much debated Five Wives brand (which sponsors the Boise music festival) - all striking an alignment with music.
As the category expands – and as music celebrities continue to jump on board (Pitbull, P Diddy, Fergie, etc) – the associated benefits of this ‘special relationship’ between vodka and music become, much like the drink itself, crystal clear.