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Marketer: Diageo Agency: JWT, London

Smirnoff takes a risk on interactive U.K. TV with three-part spot that changes as dialogue is dropped

[London] Diageo is launching a U.K. TV campaign for Smirnoff Vodka with an unbranded commercial that consumers must opt to watch on interactive TV.

The spot was shown only on digital TV for the first week of the campaign. Viewers saw the first part of the commercial, but could only watch the second and third installments by pressing the "red button" that accesses interactive services on their sets. Smirnoff branding appears only at the very end of the third installment.

In the spot, a couple has an intense conversation in a car overlooking Los Angeles at night. The same scene-with a man handing a ring to a tearful woman-is played out three times. Each time, part of the dialogue is removed, creating a different outcome.

In the first showing, a man tells his partner, "I know you had an affair with Dylan. I don't love you anymore." This becomes "I had an affair. I don't love you" and then simply "I love you."

JWT did the three-part spot to bring to life Smirnoff Vodka's triple distillation process. The invitation to press the red button is presented as an opportunity for the viewer to distill the commercial.

James Pennefather, brand director for Smirnoff GB, said, "We want to generate talkability. The creative idea lent itself perfectly to the interactive format. It is an untested medium and we have taken a calculated risk by putting 10% of the $3.6 million budget into the first week."

Last week the spot began airing on mainstream TV and in cinemas. "The branding comes right at the end," said Mr. Pennefather, "but our research shows that consumers spontaneously knew it was a Smirnoff ad just because of the quality of the film and the red color of the car."

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