Smirnoff kicks off Super Bowl with watch party for remote Alaskan miners

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Diageo vodka brand Smirnoff is throwing a Super Bowl LVI watch party for a group of gold miners located 100 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska, according to information emailed to Marketing Dive.
  • Smirnoff is outfitting the miners’ break room with a new TV, game-day supplies, catering, cocktails and a sound system. Premium access will be provided so the miners can watch the game. Smirnoff will also raffle off 56 Super Bowl watch party kits and”surprise drops” will be made to essential workers in the Los Angeles area.
  • The campaign marks one of Smirnoff’s first with the NFL after becoming the league’s first official vodka sponsor in 2021. Smirnoff’s role as sponsor followed parent company Diageo signing a multiyear contract with the NFL.

Dive Insight:

Despite being the official spirits sponsor of the NFL, Diageo is unable to advertise during the Super Bowl, as Anheuser-Busch InBev holds exclusive alcohol marketing rights during the event. The rural Alaska watch party and giveaway boxes allows for Smirnoff to be part of the Super Bowl action, without advertising during the game itself. Smirnoff plays heavily into Diageo’s NFL strategy, which also prominently features Captain Morgan rum and Crown Royal whisky.

In order to build game day excitement, Smirnoff partnered with Super Bowl champion Vernon Davis to surprise the miners over Zoom. Due to their location, the miners wouldn’t have access to the game otherwise. The inspiration for the campaign came after a survey conducted by the vodka company found 2% of football fans have to miss the big game.

In addition to the watch party, Smirnoff is also running a text-to-win promotion between Feb. 2 and Feb. 6. Fifty-six party boxes, in honor of Super Bowl LVI, will be given away. The boxes include 21 unspecified “game day essentials” chosen based on answers collected in the survey. Keeping with the theme of bringing the Super Bowl to those who wouldn’t be able to watch it otherwise, food drops will be made to essential workers in the Los Angeles area.

Diageo has been partnered with the NFL since 2021. Prior to the deal, Anheuser-Busch was the sole alcohol sponsor of the NFL. However, as consumer tastes expand beyond beer, it makes sense for the NFL to embrace the spirits market. The deal encompasses Diageo’s entire portfolio with the exception of the Irish beer company Guinness, as Anheuser-Busch will remain the official beer sponsor of the NFL.

The giveaway boxes and remote Alaska watch party are the latest in Smirnoff’s NFL marketing plan. The company has also run several TV spots featuring “Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson. During the commercial, Anderson can be seen making Smirnoff-based cocktails for his friends. As he hands the drinks out, he gives the classic drinks “tougher” names. For example, a screwdriver becomes a “fourth down driver.”

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