Produced in small batches at a 13th Century castle in Sweden, Purity Vodka has won plenty of awards, but barely any awareness outside of the posh hotels and restaurants where it is sold in the U.S.
Andy Glaser wants to change that . Mr. Glaser, whose marketing experience includes stints at Moet Hennessy and Heineken USA, took over as CEO of the vodka company last year with the goal of growing Purity by seizing on the rising interest in top quality craft spirits. Step one is a new campaign that takes dead aim at one of the biggest players in premium vodka, Grey Goose.
At first glance the campaign, which includes print and digital ads, looks like an endorsement: "Like cranberry juice in your vodka? May we recommend Grey Goose," reads the bold text. But the contrast comes in the fine print, where the brand seeks to separate itself from the torrent of flavored vodkas hitting the market. "We believe the smooth yet full-bodied taste of Purity Vodka is best enjoyed straight up or on the rocks," goes the rest of the ad.
Plain vodka? Straight? Those seems like almost foreign concepts in an age where big brands seem to be unleashing new exotic vodka flavors on an almost weekly basis, from "fresh cut grass" to "sour apple sass." And the appetite for such creations seems to only be growing. Flavored vodka accounts for more than 20% of the $2.8 billion U.S. vodka market, with sales up almost five share points from two years ago, according to Nielsen. "New trends with indulgent flavors are driving the flavored vodka growth," said Danny Brager, Nielsen VP-group client director for alcohol.