Marketing luxury goods is hard. As soon as you charge more than another brand for what is essentially the same product on the surface, you lose the biggest bargaining chip of them all: price.
You have to persuade people to choose your product for reasons other than its price tag, i.e. the quality, its rarity, the way it makes you look socially.
This is the challenge Bacardi faced when trying to come up with a campaign for its Grey Goose vodka last year, and the resulting campaign won it a Masters of Marketing award under the Luxury category.
I thought I’d dig into the campaign to see what Bacardi did and why. And most importantly, what the results were.
The core objective was to demonstrate to vodka drinkers why the Grey Goose brand was worth paying extra for.
While people are generally happy to pay more for fine wines, champagne or whisky, this consumer trend doesn’t seem to apply to vodka.
To continue growing, Grey Goose needed to change that consumer behaviour.
No easy task, but Bacardi decided that telling an interesting and engaging brand story was the best way forward.
But what story could represent Grey Goose in a way that makes it seem more valuable than a cheaper alternative brand?
The story needed a powerful emotional hook, for starters. And it had to be intrinsic to the Grey Goose brand.
Bacardi decided to launch an artisan boulangerie – named Boulangerie Francois after Grey Goose creator Francois Thibault – that served bread made from the same French wheat used to make Grey Goose vodka.
The message was clear: ‘made from the finest French ingredients’.
And the experiential element of the campaign would allow people to absorb the brand’s story first hand.
Bacardi launched Boulangerie Francois as a three-day pop-up on Shaftsbury Avenue, London.
As with any good marketing campaign, the work going on around it – PR, social, and so on – was just as important as the event itself.
Bacardi targeted journalists and influencers by sending them baskets of ‘Grey Goose Bread’ along with jams made with each of the Grey Goose flavours.
As for the boulangerie itself, it was rich in brand messaging, including a French baker explaining the story behind it while serving customers.
Bacardi also sent the journalists and influencers luxury wooden invitations, written in French, inviting them to a ‘soirée extraordinaire’.
— Catherine Hudson (@FashCatherine) November 28, 2013
Not knowing what to expect, the guests arrived to discover the ‘Fly Beyond Bar’, a cocktail bar in which they could order classic French cocktails with a twist.
Bacardi also organised training sessions in Boulangerie Francois and even hosted a celebrity party for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
The brand also established trade partnerships with nearby bars to spread the Boulangerie Francois experience across London. And all of this helped to drive further PR coverage.
Now it was time to take Boulangerie Francois across the country. Bacardi organised the ‘Grey Goose Camionnette’ – a mobile martini bar disguised as a bread delivery van.
The camionnette was launched in Edinburgh and then rolled out across key cities across the UK, including Manchester and London.
Bacardi set up a national partnership with Harvey Nichols, creating ‘Boulangerie François Terrasses’ in London, Manchester and Edinburgh – three-month outdoor pop-ups where people could order bespoke Grey Goose cocktails paired with French pâtisserie.
Reach and awareness
- 708m PR opportunity-to-see (OTS).
- 229 pieces of coverage.
- 18.9m digital reach.
In each city where the campaign was activated, sales of Grey Goose saw a significant and lasting lift.
The campaign also helped Grey Goose secure additional listings in key accounts, alongside listings on the cocktail menu for key accounts.