Ukrainian Vodka Giant Enters Thriving U.S. Market

Soyuz-Victan Hits With $10 Million Marketing Push

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CHICAGO ( -- Ukrainian vodka giant Soyuz-Victan is planning a $10 million marketing push to bolster its entry into seven major U.S. markets this August.
Soyuz-Victan is positioning its SV Supreme grand against Grey Goose and Chopin in the U.S.
Soyuz-Victan is positioning its SV Supreme grand against Grey Goose and Chopin in the U.S.

U.S. is top priority
S-V, the world's No. 3 vodka producer, is positioning its SV Supreme brand to compete with the likes of Grey Goose and Chopin in the still-hot super-premium vodka sector. The marketer is also planning to expand into Asia and Western Europe, but the thriving market for high-end vodkas here makes the U.S. its top priority, according to U.S. Sales Manager Mark McKethan.

SV Supreme is a new brand, but Soyuz's existing brands SV and Medoff each grew by about 54% last year, to 6.5 million and 3.4 million cases, respectively, according to the spirits trade journal Impact. For comparison, Grey Goose shipped 2.3 million cases during 2005, and Smirnoff shipped about 21 million.

Soyuz has tapped McCaffery Gottlieb Lane, New York, for creative duties; Euro RSCG Magnet, New York, for public relations; Brand Action Team, Avon, Conn., for marketing and promotions; and Next Level, Westport, Conn., for on-premise work.

Focus on 'smooth' taste
Those agencies will have a $10 million budget to gain share in seven U.S. markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Miami and Dallas. Mr. McKethan said he expects the media mix to vary by market, but that out-of-home and on-premise media figure to be the largest pieces.

In order to stand out in an increasingly crowded luxury vodka field, SV Supreme will try to differentiate itself in two ways. First, all creative work will pitch its allegedly smooth taste, using the slogan "You just know when it's silk."

Second, Soyuz hopes a rocket-shaped bottle will help it stand out on bar shelves.

Mr. McKethan says Soyuz hopes to sell 20,000 cases this year, and reach 1 million cases by 2010. "The company is very serious about establishing a foothold," he says.
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