The launch of Kalashnikov Vodka has certainly raised a few eyebrows and the media exposure hit far and wide. Talk Loud PR had a challenge on its hands to deliver positive PR around something this controversial, at a time when the drinks industry was also under such extreme scrutiny.
One could argue that Kalashnikov Vodka would be an automatic hit with the media. The story behind the brand suggests a perfect PR hook. However, amid heated debate about alcohol's contribution to anti-social trends, the challenge was to protect the brand from destructive publicity.
But the vast majority of coverage focused on the AK-47 gun, often raising an ethical debate. I question whether the free-reign approach with journalists paid off.
If the agency's remit was simply to drive mass awareness, this it certainly did. However, from a drinks-industry perspective, the brand would have benefited from specific PR creatives designed to shift the focus onto facts about the quality of the product itself.
Furthermore, with long-term vision in mind, the focus on Kalashnikov and the Nikita Girls was rather gimmicky.
That said, with spirit brands wrestling for space in the media, it did a good job at securing column inches within a limited budget.