Equal parts gatekeeper and insider, bartenders hold a special position among nightlife habitués. When Absolut wanted to reach young males, it enlisted lifestyle brand Thrillist to help it
befriend barkeeps nationwide.
To do that, Thrillist hosted a competition, “Thrillist's Search for the Best Bloody,” which was sponsored by the Swedish vodka sold by Pernod Ricard. Thrillist challenged bartenders to create the top Bloody Mary for a chance to win a trip to Sweden.
The media surrounding the campaign -- through email sponsorships and Web banners -- involved three phases, the first being a call to bartenders to submit recipes. Next, Thrillist announced the competition and encouraged users to vote -- and finally, this Friday, it plans to announce the winner.
According to Jody Rones, vice president of sales at Thrillist, mobile optimization was a big driver of engagement as many of the bartenders were encouraging people to vote in their bars -- where the ability to vote on your phone was key. So was “building a responsive site which allowed for easy voting within venues,” said Rones.
Also, bartenders this year were given the ability to upload their own recipe and photo. As a result, submissions from bartenders rose year-over-year from 250 entries to more than 800, according to Rones.
Allowing users to enter themselves tripled the number of entries and provided us with 800 ambassadors for the campaign. The campaign’s Facebook page allowed people to "like" their favorite Bloody Mary last year, driving 6,500 votes. This year, by contrast, the page allowed people to either "drink it" in favor of their bloody mary of choice, or "sink it." The result? Roughly 28,000 votes, or a 400% improvement year-over-year.
Visits to Absolut’s Facebook page increased from about 10,000 users last year to more than 30,000, this year.