Shop Talk: Finlandia Toasts Bond Coup

The Embassy of Finland in Washington, D.C., is no ice palace. But the cold, sleek structure was a fitting place to celebrate Finlandia vodka’s 30 years in the U.S.

Brown-Forman, Finlan-dia’s parent company, based in Louisville, Ky., also took last week’s party as an opportunity to celebrate its recent coup in becoming the preferred vodka of James Bond. Diageo’s Smirnoff brand lost that designation after 40 years when MGM Studios decided this summer to upgrade the promotional tie-ins for the latest Bond film, Die Another Day. (Bond had enjoyed a nice Smirnoff pre-dinner martini ever since 1962’s Dr. No, starring Sean Connery.)

Guests at the Finnish embassy tried hard to look as sophisticated as Bond as they sipped their Finlandia vodka martinis out of the same frosted glasses Pierce Brosnan uses in the film, while clips from the movie ran in the background.

For Brown-Forman, it’s been an extensive commitment. The company agreed to spend more than $1 million promoting the film in print ads and at special events. Global mar keting director Scott Reid says Finlandia’s image fits perfectly with the film’s ice theme. “Finlandia’s image is cold, clean, natural and icy,” he says. “Our bottle is patterned after glacial ice.”

It doesn’t get much cooler than that.