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Smirnoff Red, White & Berry

Summer doesn’t start until it’s on shelf

A bold, simple design for what would have been a one-off seasonal Limited Edition in the USA, Smirnoff Red, White & Berry was such a success in 2016 that Diageo put it back on shelf for summer 2017. And then again in 2018. In fact, it’s been so successful that each year a new format has joined the line-up. Here’s the story behind our Silver DBA Design Effectiveness Award-winning work for Smirnoff…

Summer. The season for pool parties, BBQs, and getting together with friends and loved ones in the sunshine. It’s also a prime time for innovation in the spirits industry, and brands launch new products in the US around Memorial Weekend and 4th July, hoping to become the new favourite for summer’s social occasions.

Back in 2016 we were briefed by Smirnoff to design the packaging for the new Smirnoff Red, White & Berry Limited Edition, communicating the proposition in an engaging, immediate and celebratory visual way. A straightforward brief, it was time to get creative.

Where most brands wrap their packs in an American flag to directly connect to the patriotic spirit of the season’s celebrations, our idea was all about putting a twist on the iconic red, white and blue colours to create an eye-catching bottle that you simply cannot miss on shelf.

It’s bold. It’s playful. It’s unapologetic in its simplicity. And, of course, it has been crafted and executed exquisitely.

The vibrant colours have been applied using a special frosted effect that we created in close collaboration with Diageo’s production team. It gives the bottle a unique tactile quality that begs to be picked up, and visually it works on 2 levels: it is reminiscent of ice and refreshing drinks on a hot summer’s day, but also communicates the flavour of the liquid inside.

Instagram and Pinterest were soon flooded with photos of the bottles, and patriotic layered cocktails inspired by our design were served at parties all over the USA.

Despite being a limited edition, Red, White & Berry was so loved by consumers that Smirnoff brought it back in 2017, and this time with the addition of a ready-to-drink Smirnoff Ice variant served in 330ml bottles. An instant hit, in 2018 they added ready-to-drink Red, White & Berry Smirnoff Ice cans to the line-up, too.

Sales have grown each year, and the core Red, White & Berry spirit delivered an incredible 63% of Smirnoff’s total vodka category growth between 2017-2018, as well as 72% of its flavoured vodka growth. The story was even more impressive for the initial ready-to-drink variant, which saw a phenomenal year-on-year growth of 243% from 2016-2017, exceeding its annual volume target by almost 200%!

The popularity of this limited edition sees it sell out quickly each year. Retailers frequently give it extra shelf space, and its continued success has helped the brand secure over 26,500 new distribution points across the US.

Limited Editions play a key role in keeping the Smirnoff brand relevant and exciting for consumers, particularly in the ever-competitive spirits market. At a time when ‘American-made’ is a key purchase driver in the USA, Smirnoff Red, White & Berry has truly become the must-have drink for social occasions all summer long.

So cheers to the summer, cheers to the Smirnoff team, and cheers to our Silver DBA Design Effectiveness Award!