Finlandia had been using similar creative strategies in both the U.S. and the EU – but it wasn’t working well over here. To understand why, we looked at the differences between U.S. and EU vodka drinkers. The key insight? U.S. shoppers see vodka as an inert, colorless, tasteless spirit to use in cocktails, whereas EU shoppers more often drink vodka straight and care more about things like taste profiles, distilling methods and ingredients. Simply put, the two groups do not care about the same things.
In addition to their cocktail-centric view of vodka, research showed that U.S. vodka buyers took pleasure in the shopping experience itself. While they may buy beer and wine at the grocery, when it comes to spirits, they browse a variety of retailers and rely on both expertise and sensory experiences to inform purchasing decisions. In other words, they’re more heart-driven than head-driven. So with that, we set out to build a campaign that forged warm, emotional connections with buyers, while staying loyal to Finlandia’s well-established brand.
Finlandia’s summer campaign was a departure from what the brand had done in the past. From a visual standpoint, whereas previous creative leaned heavily on icy-blue imagery of glacial lakes to convey the notion of pure ingredients, we added warmth and emotion by leveraging the midnight sun. Headlines still included the notion of purity and simplicity, but in broader, more emotional contexts beyond just ingredients.