Skyy Vodka's new "West of Expected" campaign employs a quasi-scientific, tongue-in-cheek approach to encourage young adults to apply new thinking and behavior in routine social scenarios.
The core message: "Everything can be made better with a little fresh thinking. Even vodka. Seriously, it's science. Look it up."
In a series of mostly 15-second videos/TV spots, a presenter reminiscent of a science TV show host presents what amounts to common-sense advice as lessons of the universe, to an audience that includes individuals clearly meant to come off as smart-but-eccentric types. The host is on a stage designed to suggest a galaxy, and shadowy stage hands can sometimes be seen behind him, using strange props to elaborate on his points.
In one 30-second video, the host uses three pieces of fruit to compare the nature of attraction in the universe to social dynamics, suggesting that the lemon, or"wingman," plays the key role of bringing the apple and orange opposites together during an evening out.
In another video, he compares tipping the bartender to rewarding a maze-navigating mouse with cheese. And in a third, he suggests that "your phone makes a magnificent coaster," so "put it down and pay attention to the people you're with, because the universe is sending you the most magnificent text of all: a drink."
The campaign seeks to play off and underline the unexpected nature of Skyy itself — a vodka that was developed in California rather than Russia, and uses California limestone in its filtration process — says Will McGinness, executive creative director of the campaign's creative agency, San Francisco-based Venables Bell & Partners. "We think today’s consumers have seen enough perfect-people-laughing-while-holding-martini-glasses-in-spirits advertising," he adds.
The TV spots are being aired nationally, starting July 9, on outlets including ESPN, FX, AMC, IFC, Bravo, Comedy Central, Logo, TBS, TNT, NBC and VH1. Digital executions are appearing on Hulu, YouTube, Urban Daddy and Vice.
The campaign also includes out-of-home in markets including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Seattle, Milwaukee, Dallas, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New Jersey and Boston. These ads feature the distinctive blue Skyy bottle and headlines such as "No artificial traditions added," and "Your bartender has a name. It's not hey."
Another campaign element is Toast to Marriage, a new LGBT program that uses a community approach to help increase visibility
and raise funds for Freedom to Marry, an organization dedicated to winning marriage for all nationwide.
On-premise executions aim to deliver unexpected nightlife experiences. For instance, Skyy recently partnered with underground music platform Boiler Room TV to launch Skyy Stream, which employs social media to deliver HD-quality live DJ shows.
For on-premise bottle service, the brand has created a limited-edition Skyy Electrify bottle with a graphic LED label that moves to the beat of the music in the club or other venue.
Other new programs will be unveiled as the campaign continues through 2014 and 2015, according to Skyy.