Prototypes & Comps

Spotlight: Wine & Spirits

Posted: March 5, 2004 by
Ron Romanik

"Creating a serious buzz" is probably not the marketing phrase of choice for most liquor brands. But that is just what Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine, North America (Westport, Conn.) says it achieved to the nth power with its innovative, value-added packaging promotion for Stolichnaya genuine Russian vodka during the 2003 holiday season.

Stoli’s Ice Shot Glass Maker, a book-style package made of translucent plastic, contained a 750-ml bottle of Stolichnaya 80-proof vodka and a reusable mold for making five shot glasses out of ice or frozen juice. The entire package was designed to be put directly into the freezer.

“Our goal was to create a unique holiday pack that was not only ownable to the brand, but also a great gift-giving opportunity,” notes Patricia Poole, Stolichnaya brand manager for Allied Domecq. “We leveraged our holiday radio buy to create a fully integrated PR program that created over 12 million media impressions during the holiday season. The program was very successful. We produced over 300,000 units and shipped nearly all of them, 94 percent, to retail.”

Allied Domecq’s core target market for Stolichnaya vodka is 21- to 29-year-old men, and it focuses its brand activities on this group. Stoli’s current advertising is themed the “little truths” campaign, for celebrating “little truths” among friends who want to remain true to themselves. The Stoli Ice Shot Glass Maker package was a word-of-mouth winner that enabled consumers to toast to the “little truths.”
According to Allied Domecq, the Stoli Ice Shot Glass Maker’s unique concept and package design earned it a place in many print and broadcast holiday gift features, including a feature on CBS News by Linda Lopez highlighting 2003’s best gifts; Food & Wine magazine, Maxim, the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times syndicate, and the Miami Herald, among others.

Za vashe zdorovye!
The concept of a kit for creating shot glasses made out of ice or frozen juice began with Allied Domecq and its advertising agency. Together, they had sought ways to capitalize on what the Stoli brand is known as—genuine Russian vodka, meant to be served ice cold. To make the concept a reality, Allied Domecq turned to AGI/Klearfold, a MeadWestvaco resource for plastic and paperboard folding cartons.

“From the outset, Allied Domecq knew they wanted a single package to hold both bottle and ice shot glass tray. Our job was to help them realize their unique vision,” says Rich Thibault, director of creative packaging for AGI/Klearfold. “The shot glass and the bottles were designed specifically to be placed in the freezer at the same time. This unique configuration set the scale and orientation of the shot glass tray with the bottle.”

AGI/Klearfold decided on a book-like structure with a printed PVC cover that was radio-frequency (RF) sealed to two locking PVC vacuum-formed trays. The trays hold the bottle in place and, with the help of a third vacuum-formed insert, create the shot glass mold. The shape, style, and volume of the glasses were designed by AGI/Klearfold.

FDA also said “cheers”
Between prototype and production run, AGI/Klearfold took another step: it sent the package’s freezer-grade PVC to a testing lab to be sure that all FDA criteria were met, given that ice and juice would be coming into contact with the PVC shot glass mold.

With the package structure created, Allied Domecq proceeded to fashion a distinctive graphic design. It wanted the package to have the appearance of a block of ice as if the Stoli vodka bottle were frozen inside. Allied Domecq provided AGI/Klearfold with a color photo of an ice block, which AGI/Klearfold converted to a one-color white graphic and then manipulated and printed to create a frosted, ice-like effect on the translucent PVC cover.

The rest of the package was printed mostly in red to emphasize the Stoli brand, with black only for a shot glass mold diagram on the package back. A vertical red and white SBS belly band held the “book” closed and provided additional marketing opportunities. Printed inside the band were a series of Stoli drink recipes. The package was shipped to retailers with promotional point-of-sale items like pole toppers and case cards.

Allied Domecq says it was very pleased with the finished package and the design collaboration with AGI/Klearfold. The success of the project can be measured by the fact that Allied Domecq is already in talks with AGI/Klearfold to look at some variation of the promotion for the 2004 holiday season.