Grey Goose pear vodka debut stresses sensory experience

In a market flooded with luxury liquors, Grey Goose wanted to introduce its La Poire pear vodka - the brand's first new flavor in nearly four years - with a focus on taste and product intricacies rather than celebrity endorsements, says Elizabeth Harrison, principal at Harrison & Shriftman (H&S), the brand's AOR.

In a market flooded with luxury liquors, Grey Goose wanted to introduce its La Poire pear vodka - the brand's first new flavor in nearly four years - with a focus on taste and product intricacies rather than celebrity endorsements, says Elizabeth Harrison, principal at Harrison & Shriftman (H&S), the brand's AOR.

Idea: Instead of turning to young Hollywood to serve as vodka ambassadors, Grey Goose "returned to the roots of [its] success: bartenders," says Monsell Darville, the brand's VP and group director. "Creating an interactive relationship with top mixologists and bartenders, select chefs, and consumers allows them to experience the product through all senses... leading to personal experiences and cocktail creativity."

Tools: Instead of one massive launch event, H&S reached out to media and industry trendsetters over time. For the first outreach, which targeted long-lead publications from Maxim to Modern Bride, it sent editors four day's worth of pear-inspired mailings - all without revealing the brand name. Partnering with indulgent brands, including Red Door candles and Harry & David, H&S captured "all of the sensory elements of the vodka," Harrison says, "before the media even knew what it was." On the fifth day, the firm revealed the brand and invited editors to a private tasting with La Poire cocktails in an Anjou pear orchard-like setting.

Measurement: While media placement is important, even more so is the adoption of La Poire by bartenders, restaurant and club owners, distributors, and other industry elite. Within days of the launch, New York's feted restaurant Daniel created its own La Poire signature cocktail.

Organization: Grey Goose (Bacardi)
Campaign: Grey Goose La Poire vodka
PR team: Harrison & Shriftman, New York
Other marketing: Advertising
Launch: February 1
Budget: Seven figures

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