Reyka Vodka toasts 24 hours of sunshine

The sun shines for 24 hours in Iceland on summer solstice, and Reyka and its AOR ExposureUSA seized the opportunity to align with the occasion.

Client: Reyka Vodka / William Grant & Sons (New York)
Agency: ExposureUSA (New York)
Campaign: Reyka Vodka x Summer Solstice
Duration: May - June 2013
Budget: $40,000

Reyka Vodka, a William Grant & Sons brand, is a boutique, premium vodka and the first to be distilled in Iceland. The sun shines for 24 hours in Iceland on summer solstice (June 21), and Reyka and its AOR ExposureUSA seized opportunity to align with the occasion.

“We wanted to stand out and own something unique to our brand,” explains Lisa Pfenning, Reyka, category director of innovation at William Grant & Sons. “Solstice is a very big holiday in Iceland so it was the perfect fit and a great, ownable opportunity for Reyka to celebrate in the US and help raise brand awareness and drive sales.”

Strategy
Partnerships were established with two media worthy Icelandic influencers -- model/DJ Edda Petursdottir and Brooklyn-based artist Hrafnhildur Arnardottir, a.k.a “Shoplifter.”

The campaign centered on a June 21 event in Brooklyn, one of Reyka's largest sales markets, and media outreach. Social media engagement, smaller events nationwide, and out of home ads also helped associate Reyka with summer solstice.

“Many Nordic liquor brands are looking to get in the press for summer solstice -- and it's a small window,” says Matt Arrowsmith, the agency's communications director. “Reyka is all about ‘inventive -ism.' The Icelandic people are renown for being hardy and entrepreneurial, so we worked with US-based Icelandic artists to create inventive art and music installations, while celebrating the country's fun Solstice vodka drinking rituals at the same time".

Tactics
Petursdottir and Shoplifter did a media tour with New York journalists and bloggers covering culture, art, design, fashion, and music ahead of the event.

The event was hosted in Williamsburg on the rooftop of the King & Grove hotel, a top-seller for Reyka. Shoplifter created a sun art installation; Petursdottir deejayed; and signature Reyka drinks created by four bartenders from high-profile New York City bars were served.

Guests included art, design, music, and fashion influencers and top-tier journalists and bloggers. Shoplifter, Petursdottir, and Reyka's national brand ambassador Daniel Brancusi, an American known for creating innovative restaurant cocktail programs, gave interviews at the event.

Attendees were encouraged to use a photo booth and post pictures with the hashtag #reykasolstice to their personal and professional social media channels and websites.

“Countdown to summer solstice” Facebook posts provided information about summer solstice and the event.

Fans were encouraged to upload solstice-inspired photos anywhere online with the hashtag #reykasolstice for a chance to win a trip to Iceland. Photos were collected and posted to a Facebook gallery.

Solstice-themed cocktails were available throughout June at key bars around the country that serve Reyka.

Field sales groups and local agencies hosted smaller solstice-themed events in more than 60 US communities.

Results
Pfenning reports about 80% sales growth January to June 2013 (more than 28,000 cases sold) compared to the same months in 2012.

Fifty-six journalists and bloggers attended the event. Fifty-two stories (more than 50 million impressions) ran in outlets such as The New York Times, MarieClaire.com, and Details.com.

Future
Pfenning says summer solstice will be a “big focus” again next year, though specifics aren't finalized.

The team is currently promoting Reyka's partnership with the Iceland Airwaves music festival (October 30 - November 3) and will host media in Iceland for the event.

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