SKYY Vodka, Universal aim to connect with new generation of drinkers

Alcohol brand SKYY Vodka and Universal Pictures are teaming up for a marketing campaign ahead of the July 22 release of the Jordan Peele film “Nope.”

“The whole idea behind this campaign is that the movie ‘Nope’ is like looking up in the sky, trying to see what’s going on, what’s happening there,” said Sean Yelle, senior category marketing director at Campari America, parent company of 30-year-old SKYY Vodka. The new work asks people what’s in the sky, tying the partnership into the spirits brand’s name and messaging.

The partnership includes out-of-home and social media ads, as well as sweepstakes designed to expand SKYY’s reach and mission. The sweepstakes will run until August 5 and will give entrants a chance to win tickets to see the movie. There will also be a series of signature cocktails inspired by the movie’s ominous themes that will be served at select theater chains across the country.

Through the campaign, SKYY is looking to connect with a new generation of vodka drinkers and tout the relaunch of its liquid and bottle design. “We thought this might be an opportunity on where to engage the promotion of the movie and the promotion of the product,” said Yelle. SKYY parent Campari now plans to take a more holistic approach to marketing with all of its divisions. Rather than have one team for each brand’s customer, the company wants to find ways to promote several products to a wide range of consumers.

It is unclear how much of Campari’s advertising budget is allocated to the campaign as Yelle would not share overall budget specifics. According to Pathmatics, the company spent $460,000 in 2021 on marketing efforts. Yelle noted that the spend was seven figures and most of it went toward digital over OOH advertising, which includes Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter as well as connected TV. Yelle also shared that 80% of the ad split on social platforms went to Instagram and Facebook.

It has become increasingly popular for marketers to work with movie studios like Universal Pictures to increase their audience reach. As previously reported by Digiday, Liberty Mutual, Bushmills and Booking.com have also recently partnered with film studios on co-marketing efforts to boost brand awareness.

After spending so much of the last few years isolated, Gen Z consumers are especially craving occasions worthy of dressing up and going out — hence SKYY’s tie-in with Universal Pictures.

“Jordan Peele’s movies are the ultimate conversation starters, and something like the NOPE x SKYY cocktails offer the perfect companion for a post-movie debate,” said Hannah Hickman, svp of client strategy and head of youth culture practice at Omnicom’s cultural consultancy Sparks and Honey. “This will be especially appealing for a generation that loves peeling back the layers and finding hidden meaning.”

It has become increasingly common for consumers to expect more from theater experiences, especially because they are leaving their homes for such experiences. “This particular co-branding benefits from a surprisingly-rare interest in driving genuine, practical types of engagement, particularly SKYY cocktails at theaters and an opportunity to win tickets to see the film,” said Brady Donnelly, global CMO of the integrated, tech-enabled, omnichannel global distribution platform for beauty and wellness brands PCA Group.

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