Diageo’s Smirnoff vodka brand is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City – considered to be the launch of the gay rights movement – with a promotional campaign that includes video advertising, event marketing and special edition labeling.
The “Welcome Home” campaign will be aimed at the participants expected to travel to New York City for pride celebrations later this month. Smirnoff is producing a series of “Welcome Home” videos with transgender actor Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”) that will be shown on the brand’s social media channels and at LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark International Airport.
The brand will also produce a pop-up shop called “House of Pride” commemorating the LGBT experience that will be staged in Manhattan from June 26-28, with “Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness making a guest appearance. Smirnoff is also creating a special float for the June 30 Pride March in New York, with “Dancing Queen” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Alyssa Edwards dressed as Lady Liberty.
Smirnoff will issue limited-edition Pride bottles of its No. 21 vodka with the brand label replaced with “Welcome” in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian and Mandarin. While those promotional bottles will not be available in retail channels, the brand will re-release its Smirnoff No. 21 “Love Wins” bottles for retail purchase. The brand pledged to donate $1 for every bottle made to the Human Rights Campaign, a nonprofit advocating LGBT rights, with the goal of totaling nearly $1.5 million by 2021.
“In the spirit of our brand’s international footprint and building off decades of support, we are continuing to push for global equality through our new ‘Welcome Home’ campaign and our continued commitment to HRC,” said Jay Sethi, vice president for Smirnoff at Norwalk-based Diageo North America. “While 85% of LGBTQIA+ consumers want their community represented in brand campaigns, only 12.6% of marketers actually include them in their annual media planning. As the No. 1 vodka brand in the world, we have taken a stance to support this community year-round, as evidenced through our work with Laverne, Jonathan and Alyssa across both Pride and non-Pride campaigns.”