That the world’s favourite vodka brand would show its support of Pride Month, a celebration of inclusivity, is understandable. And given Smirnoff’s history of successful personalised packaging promotions, showing its support that way is clever.
To be the world’s number one vodka brand you have to be called “my brand” by a vast number of very different people. The diversity of its following is important to Diageo’s Smirnoff.
“For 20 years, we’ve been friends with the global LGBTQ+ community,” Smirnoff states with pride. Both Smirnoff and Diageo also have a long-standing relationship with the Human Rights Campaign, the largest organisation in the US working towards equality for people who identify as LGBTQ+. Diageo has been named one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” and has received a perfect score of 100% on the Corporate Equality Index for nine years in a row.
Spreading its message of acceptance and inclusivity as widely as possible is part of Smirnoff’s Pride objective. This year, that objective partnered with the aim of creating more welcoming environments for the LGBTQ+ community.
“When we stick together, Love Wins,” became the brand’s Pride Month motto.
And when Smirnoff does personalised packaging, it goes all out for impact.
There are two personalised editions of Love Wins Smirnoff No. 21 bottles and cases this Pride Month, one from the UK and one from the US.
The US bottles bear an iridescent rainbow aesthetic and a new LGBTQ Smirnoff logo. No two are identical. Each bottle features different images of real people and their love for one another, created and photographed by San Francisco-based photographer, Sarah Deragon, who began the Identity Project, which examines how people define their gender and sexuality. The brand will also donate US$1 per bottle made, with a minimum of $260,000, to the HRC. The Smirnoff No. 21 Love Wins bottles are available in 750 ml and 1 litre bottles, comparatively priced with standard Smirnoff No. 21 vodka.
To personalise the campaign even more, Smirnoff is asking couples over the age of 25 to submit their photos to a microsite for the opportunity to be featured on the next bottle pack design in 2018. For every eligible photo submitted between May 23 and September 30, Smirnoff will donate an additional US$1 per photo to the HRC (up to $10,000).
“It’s always inspiring when brands take action to encourage positive change, especially at a time when we are working harder than ever to push back against anti-equality forces. The ‘Love Wins’ bottles are showing the country that love truly conquers hate – and that we celebrate you, no matter who you are or who you love,” noted Adam Marquez, associate director, corporate development at HRC, in the launch statement.
In the UK, Love Wins was last year’s personalised bottle promotion. The 2017 promotion is called Choose Love and both were designed by Design Bridge. The 6 different Choose Love bottles - one in each colour of the Pride flag - were inspired by illustrator, Rob Bailey’s, Hey Man embrace image. Bailey worked with the studio to create six embracing couples with hidden details, such as tattoos and jewellery, to discover on each bottle. Much of the typography was hand-drawn by Design Bridge design director, Chloe Templeman, to give them a hand-made feel. Each was numbered, its wrap was given a special rainbow coloured seal, and its back-of-pack copy explains the meaning behind each of the Pride flag colours. The Snapchat ghost waves a rainbow Pride flag on the side of every bottle. Bottle owners snap the ghost and to unlock an exclusive Pride lens, to capture and share their own Pride celebrations on Snapchat.
The 2016 UK personalised bottles were also remarkable. These were inspired by Smirnoff’s Pride edition partner, BOB by Dawn O’Porter the fashion label whose Equality Collection celebrates sexual equality. Each of its 500 Love Wins bottles was a one-off, and celebrated a unique relationship.
Using the LGBTQ+ rainbow colour palette, and a BOB by DOP print originally created by illustrator, Karen Mabon, as its starting point, the range featured a diverse range of couples from all walks of life. After each of the 500 bottles had been specially shrink-wrapped in its rainbow-colour base, the Smirnoff “eyebrow” label, couple illustration, and fabric label, on which Smirnoff’s Love Wins affirmation was written, were all added by hand. Sales of this edition supported the RUComingOut charity.