Field Notes: Guns and Booze

Posted: November 13, 2013 by
Linda Casey

Can guns and booze mix? Jim Denoon, the man behind the 9mm Vodka concept, thinks so. He’s created a spirit packaging concept based on a clever and controversial play on the luxury vodka process. The ultra-premium French vodka is triple filtered through a 9-micron mesh to produce a clean-and-smooth liquor.

Denoon is targeting the gift and collectibles market by kitting the gun-shaped vodka bottle with four magazine-style shot glasses and putting them all in an aluminum flight case. A printed belly band would provide additional branding and product information.

Do Package Design readers think this concept can fire the new brand to success or nothing more than a menace to society?

Standing out in the vodka category is undoubtedly a challenge, being provocative is one way of doing it. I believe that to break through the category one must first tell a compelling, and intelligent, story ensuring the experience of the brand.

Using a vodka bottle shaped as a gun is questionable in a society that breeds violence. For an industry that regulates so strictly, and professes to encourage sociability and enjoyment, the concept of a weapon serving drinks is benign at best.
Daniel Andersson, creative director of The Brand Union


Beyond being controversial, I find the 9mm Vodka visually “arresting”—translated to mean “polarizing.” It definitely is innovative and “targets” a specific consumer demographic whom may find it “trendy” and “cool.” But in my mind, you have to go a very long way to find the brand meaning and strategic platform to make the right connection between drinking and guns.
Jackie DeLise, vice president of new business development at Zunda Design Group

As interesting as the concept may be, it seems to be an idea launched for expression sake and lacks a story that has sufficient value or meaning of the brand.

The attention to detail is beautiful, but not seemingly creative. It appears to be a carbon copy of a 9mm and its case. I would expect the packaging to speak to the vodka drinker and tell them why it’s different and why it’s right for them.
Jennifer Bacon, co-founder at JaceyCakes LLC

The vodka (and whole beverage industry for that matter) is becoming increasingly competitive with all the specialty, craft products. Catching the customer’s eye often requires something unique, such as the Lucky Buddha beer bottle. At the same time a throwback to creative cocktails of past seems to be a latest trend too.

Having a unique bottle at the store or bar might just be what’s needed to start an interesting conversation and gain a customer’s curiosity. And while the package shape is controversial, it can open up many conversations. Perhaps linking up with a gun control organization could be good for the brand— much like how Ducks Unlimited works with hunters to educate and maintain the environment for birds and people. If nothing worse, I’m sure 007 would find it an interesting twist for his next martini.
Scott Ballantine, president of Xplorall Industries


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