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Smirnoff Has Fun With Ted Danson & Some Tiny Cocktails

The good folks over at Smirnoff are back with another campaign and they are ready for some serious (yet affordable) summer fun.

By: Tiff Christie|November 9,2018

If you are of the belief that it’s not what you own, but how you own it, then Smirnoff have a quirky summer Vodka campaign for you.

Titled “Welcome to the Fun%”, the campaign aims to show that you don’t need a lot to have a good time. In other words, you don’t need heirlooms, couture or any of trapping of privilege, especially when you have one of the World’s most awarded Vodkas on hand.

The anti-snobbery play on “the one per cent” seeks to counter the messages from more expensive and exclusive brands. Smirnoff describes the ‘Fun%’ as “anyone and everyone who wants to have accessible unpretentious fun”.

The campaign features Ted Danson, who tells you that he wants you to celebrates good times with a quality product everyone can afford.

Alongside Danson, a diverse cast made up of some pretty fun personalities abound, with the talent including actress Jenna Fischer, Jonathan Van Ness of Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” actress and LGBT activist Laverne Cox and comedian and actress Nicole Byer.

In one ad, Danson and Van Ness convene over thimble-sized cocktails.

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Sharing a humorous, yet playful attitude, each of the spots depicts different scenarios with the intent being to encourage fun, yet responsible, drinking (which, of course, goes without saying).

While keeping one foot squarely in the more serious camp of ‘quality at an affordable price’, the brand chose Danson for his irreverence and likeable silliness. The balance works well as the brand got him involved in all aspects of the creative process.

The process involved a workshop environment where Danson, the Smirnoff team, and the agency worked together on developing the concept and the various scenarios. And the enjoyment of both the process and the shoot came across in each ad spot, helping to deepen the authenticity that Smirnoff was looking to create.

In the spot with Cox, Danson waltzes across a tennis court, grabs a Smirnoff beverage stating that the vodka is made in America for “everyone in America, no matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like …”. He trails off as Cox enters the picture, dressed in the same blue suit and red tie, continuing, “or who wore it better.”

With Byer, at seemingly the same garden party with brightly dressed attendees and many lawn flamingos, he sings the praises of the vodka while Byer looks over Danson’s trophies, as both the Vodka and the actors have both won their fair share of awards.

As Danson cosies up to the bar in a spot with Van Ness, they are both served mini martinis, as Van Ness calls Danson the nickname “boobie,” to which Danson replies, “my mom called me that” with zeal.

“It’s always fun partnering with Smirnoff because it truly is a quality brand that is made for everyone,” said Danson in a release. “What I love most about this new series is the different personalities that Smirnoff brought to the table and how that came through in the spots.

“Never would I have thought I would be playing a game of “who wore it better” with Laverne Cox for example – definitely me by the way.”

The new campaign by 72andSunny, include one improvised spot in which Danson seems exacerbated that he has to cram a message into six seconds.

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“He didn’t know what a six-second ad was, so we kind of ad-libbed that one, which is fantastic. It worked out great,” says Jay Sethi, VP-Smirnoff in North America for brand owner Diageo.

Danson began appearing in Smirnoff ads last year in a campaign called “Only the Best for Everyone.” But this year’s effort puts a premium on brevity.

“Last year we produced 60s, 30s and 15s and this time around I didn’t even bother with the 60 or the 30, I just went right to the 15s and then made sixes, too,” Sethi says. “People have shorter attention spans.”

The bite-sized approach “just makes you very disciplined,” Danson said in an interview. “You have one joke that has to be crystal clear,” he says. But spots must also contain the message Smirnoff wants to portray. “So it’s a real puzzle but very challenging and very fun.”

Smirnoff, with its celebrity-filled ads, seems to be embracing its bigness in an era where small brands are often seen by drinkers as the hipper choice. Sethi is unapologetic.

“We are leaning into who we are because we think it’s about being authentic. When you are the world’s number one vodka, sure you are big. But that also means we have products available for everyone,” Sethi continued. “It would be inauthentic to pretend to be small. So instead we are choosing to be who we are.”

 

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