Cannes Lions

SMIRNOFF FASHION AWARDS 2001

STARCOM WORLDWIDE, Toronto / GUINNESS UDV / 2002

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The objective of media was to create highly targeted awareness and sell tickets to the Smirnoff Fashion Awards Urban Fusion event by creating a buzz. The event serves as a consumer recruitment vehicle.Toronto was the ticket sales priority as it hosted the event; awareness efforts in Montreal (home of many of the finalists) and in Vancouver were also executed.The goal was to ensure a stealth approach to media yet maximize ticket sales. The media strategy was borne out of the event’s theme: Urban Fusion. The strategically placed message had to be accessible, relevant and connect with the lifestyle of the cool people’s cool people--- Urban Alphas--- that would attend the Smirnoff Fashion Awards providing credibility thereby attracting the fashionable masses. The Urban Fusion media strategy supported with extensive proprietary research allowed us to tap into the passions of the target thereby fusing the message to the Urban Alpha target’s “non-traditional” lifestyle.The strategic approach required reinvigoration of the traditional planning model.Normally a plan would define the target, recognize the demographics/psychographics, understand media habits, and make the media selection.For Smirnoff we defined the target, understood the lifestyle, identified their Passion Groups (SM) and determined the multi-media contact selection. Research indicated three key passions: Music, Fashion, and Partying.Contact selection lead to radio reflecting the music passion. Utilizing stations formatting specific music styles driven by target daypart analysis was key to gain credibility, convey urgency, and fuse the medium with the message through PR. mentions.Alternative stations such as Edge 102 and urban campus stations appealed to the target’s musical interests. Further fusion saw all stations write and produce spots in their voice for credibility as added value.The target utilizes some obscure print for its party information, most not found in PMB. Klublife, Tribe, Eye Weekly, Vice and Lola were used. Working with Lola we created a truly unique contact with a front cover Smirnoff snipe directing the reader to the inside front cover Urban Fusion DPS. The groundbreaking snipe created its own buzz receiving editorial in Strategy Magazine (7/30/01).With clubbing a part of the target’s lifestyle, in-bar advertising represented another example of Urban Fusion: communicating to Urban Alphas about the event while they partied. Washroom and on-premise backlights provide the necessary proximity. Specific bars based upon the frequenting of Urban Alphas were selected to ensure reach in the appropriate environments.An online component consisting of banners and a microsite was placed with 1Groove.com, a site dedicated to urban/underground music, DJ’s, and club and party information in an ideal alternative environment. The radio programming purchased with CIUT (U of T) was simulcast via this site creating synergy. Similar cool sites illnoize.com and 2kool4radio.com were also used to reach the target.The media blitz proved to be hugely successful with ticket sales exceeding forecasts as the event was sold out with some potential attendees having to be turned away at the door. This plan also acts as great learning for the international event to be held in Toronto in the Fall which will be even larger. Media's role in developing the unique plan started with moving the target group from a demographic definition to one of lifestyle. Understanding the lifestyle of those who would be interested in attending the Awards would lead us to appropriate and resonant contact selection. Through proprietary research speaking with such people as club owners, club DJ's, fashion designers, and club goers we were able to define the target as "Urban Alphas" (the people cool people think are cool). By understanding them, their and subsequently their lifestyle we were able to determine the most appropriate and resonant contact points - ones that were truly part of their lifestyle versus part of their media habits. The media strategy was borne of the event itself - Urban Fusion - fusing the medium with the target's lifestyle. Print, radio, OOH, and Internet sites were negotiated based upon their ability to reflect the lifestyle. Radio negotiations included free production of ads while Lola Magazine did its first ever cover snipe creating a Smirnoff message on the front cover. Part of Starcom's responsibility included coordinating with Smirnoff PR firm to arrange for pre and post event articles in the vehicles selected. Smirnoff owns the world’s largest young fashion designer event: the Smirnoff International Fashion Awards.

Toronto was hosting the Smirnoff Fashion Awards, a search for the Canadian representative at the upcoming international finals. The Urban Fusion themed event was a fashion show within a party featuring the Canadian finalists’ fashion designs.Target definition and execution make this plan special.

Urban Alphas--- those people cool people think are cool--- were targeted as they provide the cool cues as lifestyle leaders. An under-the-radar crowd requiring a stealth approach to effectively imprint. A necessarily unusual multi-media contact plan targeted a lifestyle versus a demographic.“Beyond traditional” research gleaned insight into these fashionable nocturnal party scenesters: party magazine publishers/editors, DJ’s, bartenders, websites, club/ party/fashion show promoters, clubbers/ravers were consulted. Not PMB, not Nielsen, not “traditional.It was learned that clubbing, raving and being fashionably in the party scene are not planned nights out; it’s a way of life. The media strategy was borne out of the party theme: Urban Fusion.Media would fuse with the Urban Alphas’ unique party lifestyle at critical and various contact points for party info and while they were partying. Smirnoff received a winning media plan successfully creating awareness and driving ticket sales ultimately filling the party venue.

Execution

Media's role in developing the unique plan started with moving the target group from a demographic definition to one of lifestyle. Understanding the lifestyle of those who would be interested in attending the Awards would lead us to appropriate and resonant contact selection. Through proprietary research speaking with such people as club owners, club DJ's, fashion designers, and club goers we were able to define the target as "Urban Alphas" (the people cool people think are cool). By understanding them, their and subsequently their lifestyle we were able to determine the most appropriate and resonant contact points - ones that were truly part of their lifestyle versus part of their media habits. The media strategy was borne of the event itself - Urban Fusion - fusing the medium with the target's lifestyle. Print, radio, OOH, and Internet sites were negotiated based upon their ability to reflect the lifestyle. Radio negotiations included free production of ads while Lola Magazine did its first ever cover snipe creating a Smirnoff message on the front cover. Part of Starcom's responsibility included coordinating with Smirnoff PR firm to arrange for pre and post event articles in the vehicles selected.

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