NEW YORK Premium vodka brand Boru has hooked up with several marketing partners, including publisher Maxim, Roadrunner Records and online music equipment seller Musician's Friend to launch a "Defend the Bar Band" campaign that the client hopes will generate brand awareness by driving customers to its Web site. The campaign kicks off Aug. 20.
The effort, created and executed by Fathom Communications, is an extension of the "Fight/Defend" campaign launched earlier this year. The male-targeted brand bought ads with statements such as "Fight the book club, defend poker night" and "Fight Karaoke; Defend the bar band."
The core of the new campaign is a "Battle of the Bar Bands" contest, including viral, on-premise and online components. Maxim Online and sister online publications Blender and Fark will feature ads and generate e-mail blasts promoting the contest.
Bands from around the country are invited to participate by submitting entry forms that include samples of their work and pictures of the group. Fathom will work with an outside music and entertainment consultant to winnow down the entries to a list of 15 finalists. The general public will then have a chance to vote online for their favorite band. Samples of the band's work will be posted on the Boru Web site.
In addition, guerilla marketers in 13 of the top urban markets, including New York, Chicago, Boston and Miami, will visit select bars and nightclubs noted for showcasing local bands to promote the Boru contest.
The winning band will be selected sometime in November. The winner will receive $10,000 in equipment from Musician's Friend and a digital-release deal from Roadrunner Records, primarily a rock label and a "great brand match for Boru," said Fathom president Peter Groome. The contest will also be promoted across both companies' online and print properties.
Boru doesn't have the big ad budget that some competitors in the crowded vodka market have, like Grey Goose and Smirnoff, said Groome. "But we think we can get people excited about the brand and drive them to the Boru Web site through this campaign, which is pretty much underground, grass roots and word of mouth," he said.
As a small brand in the market, "we need to do things that ensure we get brand recognition in such a way that we are being perceived as a real competitor that probably looks a little bigger and more astute than we can actually afford," said Claes Fizk, svp, chief commercial and marketing officer, Castle Brands, which distributes the Boru label. The campaign is also designed to appeal to Boru's retailers and customers such as on-premise bars. "We hope they find it innovative and interesting," said Fizk.