NEW YORK: Stolichnaya Premium Vodka distributor Stoli Group USA has selected GolinHarris as its AOR following a competitive review.
The company sent an RFI last year to 19 agencies and then chose six firms to participate in the RFP, said David Briggs, senior brand manager for Stoli Group, the North American subsidiary of SPI Group.
Stoli Group USA launched on January 1 after ending its distributing and marketing contract with spirits company William Grant & Sons. While affiliated with William Grant, Stoli worked with Susan Magrino Agency.
Golin will be required to create and implement a communications plan in the US to promote Stolichnaya Premium Vodka, as well as Stolichnaya Premium Flavored Vodkas and elit by Stolichnaya. The firm will also provide global PR support for SPI Group, said Briggs.
The criteria that Stoli listed for agencies participating in the pitch include experience in the spirits industry, understanding of the LGBT audience, and familiarity with the luxury space because the company plans to put more emphasis on its elit brand this year, explained Briggs.
Last summer, Stolichnaya faced a boycott from gay bars and other LGBT establishments in protest of Russia's anti-gay laws. Columnist Dan Savage encouraged consumers to protest Russia's policies and the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, by using the #DumpStoli hashtag on Twitter.
Briggs added that Golin won the business because of its creative ideas and “great balance” of strength across a number of practice areas.
Stoli's goals for the US include rebuilding the business and repositioning the brand among Millennial consumers, said Briggs.
For Stolichnaya, the target demographic is Millennials, while elit is aimed at consumers between 30 and 45 years old who are more affluent and advanced in their careers.
Led by Golin's New York office, consumer director Jennie Webb is managing account work.
To enhance the brand's consumer engagement and marketing efforts, Golin will collaborate with sister Interpublic Group agency Momentum Worldwide, which handles Stoli's below-the-line activities, such as in-store advertising, event execution, and merchandising, said Briggs. The firm will also work with Stoli's digital and social media agency partner, Rokkan.
The initial contract with Golin is for one year. Budget information was not disclosed.