Smirnoff Repurposes Summer Campaign to Send a Quarantine Message

The Diageo-owned alcohol brand revamped its plans due to Covid-19

Megan Rapinoe, Laverne Cox, Dave Bautista and Diane Guerrero all star in the spot. Smirnoff
Headshot of Kathryn Lundstrom

To promote the return of its Red, White and Berry Seltzer and debut a new sugarless version, Smirnoff had a big, over-the-top, star-studded, patriotic, party-themed summer campaign planned.
Unfortunately, after the spots were filmed in February, all parties were canceled until further notice due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Rather than throw out the work they’d already put into creating the campaign, Smirnoff went for a more appropriate message in response to the situation we’ve all found ourselves in.
“America, you had plans. Barbecues. Sports,” the 60-second spot begins. Backed by the star power of U.S. women’s soccer team captain Megan Rapinoe, actor/wrestler Dave Bautista, and Orange Is the New Black stars Laverne Cox and Diane Guerrero, Smirnoff levels with viewers. The alcohol brand also had plans, a narrator explains. But the country needs something different from us all right now. America needs us to stay home.
“We all miss hanging out with our friends and family face-to-face and are sad about the plans we have had to cancel or postpone,” said Krista Kiisk, Smirnoff brand director. “Still, we know that hanging out from home is the right thing to do right now, so we need to find new ways to stay connected and keep each other’s spirits up, and maybe even laugh a little.”
So rather than inviting friends over, going out to eat or dancing close to others, Smirnoff urges folks to order takeout, hang out virtually and work to keep each other’s spirits up. We will party together again, the brand assures us, but until then, we need to hang out from home—for America.

“We shot these new Red, White & Berry commercials earlier this year, before the world looked like it does today,” said Cox in a statement. “Since it’s now so incredibly important that everyone does their part to stay safe, Smirnoff reimagined the work to help bring some levity during this difficult time and inspire people to get creative and stay connected with friends and family while hanging out from home.”
Each of the four celebrities featured in the spot also has a 15-second “inner monologue” spot, explaining—to themselves—why staying home is important, even though it sucks.

Smirnoff also created a series of virtual backgrounds for consumers to use while video chatting to accompany the campaign, with slogans like Twerk From Home, Staying in My Robe for America, and It’s Almost Happy Hour.
The brand’s Red, White and Berry Seltzer returned to shelves this month, and includes a new zero sugar, 90-calorie version; both are available through alcohol delivery apps in certain markets. Limited edition cans this year change colors when the can gets cold.
“Right now, we all have the responsibility to stay inside,” said Rapinoe in a statement. “While we can’t celebrate with our friends and families out in public just yet, we can celebrate with a Smirnoff Seltzer Red White & Berry from the comfort of our couches.”


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@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.