Media relations: Sputnik eyes position as authentic Russian vodka

Russian vodka brand Sputnik is to teach Britons how to drink vodka the traditional Moscow way, in a new marketing assault on the UK.

Sputnik, distributed in the UK by Russian Vodka House (RVH), is looking to build its regional distribution in its second year of marketing activity in the UK.

It is understood that the PR drive will kick off in April and travel across the UK, from city to city.

Media relations will concentrate on student press and local papers and radio for the places the campaign passes through, as well as national men's magazines.

Sputnik is to draw on its Russian heritage and the fact that, unlike market leader Smirnoff, its vodka is Russian-owned and made. It will focus on teaching the rituals surrounding how the spirit is drunk in Moscow.

The PR campaign by Weber Shandwick youth division Slam will argue that factors such as temperature and breathing patterns can have a pronounced effect on the drinking experience.

It will focus on the quality of Sputnik - a 40 per cent ABV triple distilled vodka made from Russian winter wheat grain and purified water.

Sputnik arrived in the UK just over two years ago, with a £1m marketing campaign launched last July. Slam's previous work for the brand has included risque stunts such as AK-47-brandishing models giving consumers the chance to experience a 'genuine' Russian kidnap.

It has used Gabrielle Shaw Communications for trade PR and Shilland for a second birthday PR project, but is believed to have now appointed Slam to handle the bulk of the six-figure consumer and trade PR account.

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