Reyka Vodka Wants Fans to Get Creative With Their Quarantine Beards

A new campaign supports bartenders impacted by Covid-19

Photo of a man with a long beard held by hair ties
Reyka Vodka's mascot Frikki demonstrates a proper Viking beard. Reyka Vodka
Headshot of Ian Zelaya

Key insight:

Let’s be real: There’s less incentive to shave your face regularly when you’re quarantined at home during a pandemic. And Reyka Vodka wants people to know that’s OK. In fact, the brand is encouraging consumers to keep up their new isolation looks as part of its new social media campaign.

The Icelandic vodka brand has launched Beard of the Week, an ongoing initiative challenging fans to ditch their razors and experiment with new facial hair to win weekly prizes. Each week, the brand will announce a beard theme, such as Viking Beards or Craziest Beards. Fans can enter by posting a photo of their beard on Instagram, tagging the brand and using the hashtag #ReykaBeard.

Every Friday, Reyka Vodka will host a “beard off” on Instagram Stories. Using the platform’s Poll sticker, the brand will ask the public to vote on the best beard. Each winner will receive a prize, such as a Drizly gift card, Reyka products or grooming products from Beardbrand.

The face of the campaign is Frikki, the brand’s Icelandic and bearded mascot. Along with promoting the competition, Frikki will also share tips for maintaining quarantine beards and getting creative with styling.

Similar to other brand initiatives and virtual events during the pandemic, Reyka Vodka is also using the competition to raise money for a good cause. For every #ReykaBeard hashtag posted, the brand will donate $5 to the Stand Fast Campaign, a bartending industry relief effort launched by Rekya’s parent company William Grant & Sons. The initiative aims to financially support bartenders impacted by Covid-19 and help them get back to work.

“We launched the ‘Beard of the Week’ campaign with the mission to spread positivity, inspire and entertain people and, most importantly, give back to our community of bartenders that helped shape what the brand is today,” said Mary-Jade Hynes, brand manager of Reyka Vodka.

The competition isn’t just limited to people who can grow facial hair. The brand is also encouraging women, or those who can’t grow beards, to participate by turning their hair into faux beards, or even using a pet’s tail as a stand-in. Reyka Vodka worked with PR agency Curich Weiss and creative agency Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners to execute the campaign.

In February, the spread of Covid-19 sparked claims that shaving one’s beard could protect against contracting the virus based on a CDC infographic spread on social media. The particular infographic about how to effectively wear respirators in the workplace was actually released in 2017, not in relation to Covid-19. While beards can attract germs, there’s no evidence that having facial hair makes one more susceptible to contracting the virus, according to certain medical professionals.


ian.zelaya@adweek.com Ian Zelaya is an Adweek reporter covering how brands engage with consumers in the modern world, ranging from experiential marketing and social media to email marketing and customer experience.
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