The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

You Can Tell Smirnoff Is Russian Because Their Packaging Is Crass, Blatant And Lacking In Any Form Of Charm.
February 22, 2008, 6:58 am
Filed under: Comment


And they try and claim they are all about purity?

Hell, I’ve seen 60 year old, plastic-surgery ‘tweaked’, Versace wearing, Bvlgari dripping, leather skinned woman in L.A. who are more ‘pure’ than that packaging.

lots of absolut!!

Maybe Smirnoff need to take some lessons from Absolut – because even when they purposefully do ‘bling’ – they still pull it off with style and flair.

Not only does this demonstrate the importance of packaging in the purchase decision it also shows how clever Absolut were/are, because not only have they built a clear and concise brand identity, but they have ensured it is [physically] attractive to the environments that [1] will give them sales distribution/success as well as [2] enhances/cements the brands reputation with a particular consumer set.

That’s better comms thinking than most media shops could ever hope to achieve.


Too many people regard design as ‘eye candy’ – but in the right hands, it can overcome fundamental business problems – and whilst you may see this as a post-rationalised strategy [and it probably is] when you compare it to the mess that is Smirnoff, you can’t help but feel the guys behind Absolut are far more ‘aware’ of what will make them successful than their Diageo counterparts.

Now if only their bloody ad campaigns were as good …

13 Comments so far
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i learnt a great lesson about design this morning – that good design allows you to say something without saying anything.

Comment by lauren

Isn’t it made in Warrington and hasn’t Absolut’s advertising always been design-led?

Comment by John

I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not Lauren but I like this post, it’s another example of holistic planning, albeit post rationalised 🙂 At least it adds to the bank of thoughts/ideas/solutions that planners and creatives can consider.
It’s been a good week of posts this week Robert, some kind of record, so I look forward to seeing what comes out your head next week and with Andy seemingly gone, it looks like you only have George to please.

Comment by Pete

In an ironic twist, Smirnoff have started communicating how great their bottles look. While the photography does indeed make it look good (but not as good as Absolut and certainly not as good in the “flesh”) it smacks of a brand living in Absolut’s shadow who will never quite overcome it because they don’t see the difference between using your bottle as an icon and talking about how good it looks. Lets face it, if you have to say it, you haven’t got it.

Comment by Pete

I’m a Grey Goose chap myself. Its the product that counts.

Comment by Charles Frith

not being sarcastic at all pete, i promise. i totally agree with this post! and my comment was along the lines of what you said – ‘if you have to say it, you haven’t got it’..

Comment by lauren

Can I confirm that I didn’t write this post in a desperate attempt to get back into the good books of my designer wife over my Purple List ‘membership’ – though after the shit that happened with Marcus on there – maybe her belief it’s a site for “Elitist Wankers’ is right.

To be honest, it that proves to be the case, I will happily join the Black List – even though that could be just as elitist, just from a different perspective.

Sometimes I fucking hate the internet.

Comment by Rob

Don’t talk to me about Smirnoff. One of the most depressing chats I’ve ever had was with the UK branfd manager who was obviously paid to tick boxes and never, ever think.
I have a weakness for vodka martinis

Comment by northern

For me the redesign of Smirnoff made it even less charming than before. At least before it had a russian style charm to it.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I totally agree Rob …

I had an experience similar to Northern [Planner] where the Smirnoff Brand Director told me he wanted it to be a ‘global brand’ and not have a linkage to Russia [which was fucking mad] so he went and changed the bottle to that bland yuck before embarking on a spending spree trying desperately to re-link it to its Russian heritage.

That’s the difference between JWT on Smirnoff and BBH on Johnnie Walker – both interms of agency and client, ha!

Comment by Robert


But the reason it works as a global brand is because of the Russian heritage!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Yep … it gave it authenticity and now all they’re doing is playing 2nd fiddle to Absolut.

Comment by Rob


Just testing…

Comment by Age

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