Our client, Ambition Beverages, wanted to add an all-new vodka to their portfolio of fine wines and spirits. In a crowded market segment, Ambition wanted to stand out as the best tasting high-end American vodka. Viceroy, as a full-service agency, utilized its wide breadth of skills to bring this new product from concept to market.

Viceroy was involved in all aspects of the project, from sourcing to logistics, but it was our extensive experience in package design and branding that defined the project’s success. Beautiful packaging was key to standing out.

The first step in the process was to position and develop the brand. As this new product would be crafted using the finest ingredients and artisan processes, it was clear this would be a luxury product. Additionally, we wanted to highlight the product’s American provenance. In positioning this new vodka as an American luxury brand, we identified the defining characteristics as: confident, elegant and understated. These became the inspiration while designing the product and the brand.

We needed a name and we wanted a word to connote something clean and clear. As we spoke to the client, one phrase kept resurfacing: our vision for the brand. Vision Vodka instantly communicates the clarity of product, innovation of taste and style, the American luxury – and it’s easy for bartenders to lip read.

A unique and stylish new logo was designed for Vision Vodka. It started with a droplet. Utilizing this shape–its curved bottom meeting a pointed top–we found that, when turned upside-down, it could provide the perfect foundation for Vision’s new logo. The upside-down droplet is thinly outlined and incorporates within it, two Vs. These Vs–for Vision Vodka–are a custom-designed typography with strokes of varied weight and a mixing of sharp and soft line transitions. The Vs are nested in a ripple from the droplet’s point and meet the droplet’s edge with curved and sharp transitions in a way that, as a whole, itself suggests multiple droplets.

Viceroy created the packaging around the concept of understated luxury. New brands can fall into the trap of gimmick to gain attention, but, in staying with the refined product positioning, we wanted to avoid that. To make certain that the bottle would be unlike any other on store shelves, Viceroy custom-designed the form. The structure of the bottle is defined by a distinctive ‘shoulder’ and a wide pour spout at the top of the neck. The pour spout was inspired by a bottle of limoncello that we found in Italy and, as on that bottle, functions to stop pouring without dribbling. No other vodka had implemented this stylish and functional pour spout design feature which makes the silhouette instantly recognizable, the bottle easy to find on a back bar. The bottle is finished in frosted glass with a large version of the logo appearing in transparent glass for a subtle effect. The main logo and brand name are printed in red on the front of the bottle. The bottle’s large easy to grip custom designed and branded cork fits perfectly into the neck. The cap of the cork is chrome with subtle grooves running along the side. The packaging went on to win Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Silver at the World Beverage Competition, among other design awards.

To properly represent this stylish new luxury product, Viceroy created a rich web experience. Custom photography of backlit and dynamic cocktails and bottles rests atop a dark background to elicit visions of a high-end nightclub. When moving through the site, graphics transition by simultaneously sliding and blurring in and out of view. The site is accented with red and the custom Vs, which act as markers and hover icons.

Viceroy was additionally fortunate to be involved in the process of creating the new vodka. Ambition Beverages identified the opportunity to position Vision as a smooth vodka with as little “burn” as possible, as few brands were talking about this very important attribute. A lengthy search resulted in securing a prime distillery in Oregon that would be able to create the superior product we needed. It took a little bit of luck and a lot of process, but we managed to create one of the very smoothest vodkas. It started with the most amazing Oregon spring water and wheat. These premium ingredients are put through five distillations to create the incredibly smooth taste. A soft flavor profile allows the quality of the ingredients to come through in a subtle, dignified way. The goal was for the finished product to taste as much like water as possible. Viceroy and Ambition’s hard work was validated with rave reviews and recognition from respected spirits publications.

In line with the understated elegance of the packaging, Viceroy developed a line of clean and straightforward marketing. Advertisements included sexy spies in eveningwear with the tagline, “Dangerously Smooth American” to communicate luxury and a cool factor. Throughout New York City, launch parties introduced the public to Vision. A red carpet with branded backdrops provided a fitting entrance for celebrities, press and society’s elite. Held inside the most luxurious and trendy venues, these launch parties offered the perfect setting for tasting the superior flavor of Vision Vodka. We sourced a public relations firm to assist us with press and reached out to trade associations to educate them on this exciting new product. As we reached more people, the opportunities to share this exciting product increased exponentially. Vision could be found in primetime celebrations, MTV Movie Awards gift bags and even in the blockbuster The Expendables 2.

Despite a very competitive market, Viceroy was able to create a truly unique product that received attention, recognition and public affection. Viceroy used its arsenal of talents to efficiently bring to market an exceptional product–from concept to market was achieved in only 10 months.