Imperial Brands got the ball rolling in 2007 when it introduced America to Sobieski, Poland’s #1 premium vodka, with its award-winning “Truth in Vodka” campaign. The thrust: You don’t have to pay inflated prices to get a great vodka (Sobieski’s suggested 750 ml retail is $10.99, versus Grey Goose’s average price of about $35).
As it happened, the Sobieski launch and the “Truth” campaign were perfectly timed to benefit from the recession. Last year, Sobieski’s 580,000 cases sold broke a sales record, and it’s now poised to become the fastest-ever new vodka to reach 1 million cases.
Achievement of that goal is likely to be hastened by the latest twist on the “Truth” campaign, which features Bruce Willis – now a 3.3% owner of Imperial Brands stock.
But Sobieski’s no longer alone in looking to appeal to consumers that have come to consider it hip and savvy to opt for well-made but reasonably priced vodka. Wódka, another Polish rye vodka that’s gotten strong reviews and costs even less than Sobieski (about $9.99 for 750 ml), launched in the U.S. last fall, and is now gearing up its own affordable quality-themed campaign.