Diageo vodka brand Smirnoff has appointed McCann as its new global creative agency after a formal review.
The incumbent was Stagwell’s 72andSunny, which held the account for nearly a decade. The agency did not participate in the review.
The review followed the appointment of Diageo veteran Stephanie Jacoby to the role of global brand director at Smirnoff in April. Previously she served as vice president innovation for Diageo’s North America region.
Commenting on the appointment Jacoby stated, “with global scale and a profound knowledge of our consumer, global advertising agency McCann is the perfect fit as Smirnoff’s new creative Agency of Record.”
She added that the agency will “help us continue the iconic 158-year-old brand’s transformation into a modern icon and culture maker… [and help the brand] further unlock the potential of the entire Smirnoff portfolio.”
There have been reports of some U.S. stores pulling Smirnoff from shelves in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But in fact Smirnoff is not a Russian product, and not subject to import bans due to the invasion.
The vodka brand originated in Russia but no longer has ties to the country. It’s been produced in the U.S. for decades. A predecessor company to Diageo, based in the UK, acquired the vodka brand in the 1950s.
A bigger issue for the vodka category (at least for those brands produced outside of Russia) is the rise in popularity of other spirit types including whiskey and tequila. According to a recent CNBC report vodka’s share of the U.S. spirts market fell from 33% in 2010 to 32.1% in 2020. During the same period whiskey’s market share rose over five percentage points to 30.5%, per the report.