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Skyy(R) Vodka Unveils "West of Expected(TM)" -- New Marketing Campaign Illuminates Brand's Progressive Origins

Teams With Venables Bell & Partners to Launch Creative Platform That Encourages Consumers to Rethink the Expected

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - July 08, 2014) - SKYY® Vodka, the number-one premium vodka brand founded and made in the USA, unveils its new 360-degree marketing platform today -- "West of Expected™." Introduced in 1992 in the iconic cobalt-blue bottle that revolutionized how vodkas were made and marketed, SKYY is about to turn the industry on its ear once again. Developed by Venables Bell & Partners, SKYY's campaign rethinks nightlife conventions with a fresh and irresistible voice inspired by the brand's innovative roots.

SKYY was conceived by an engineer who reimagined the entire vodka category for a better experience. From SKYY's sleek, cobalt-blue bottle, which broke Old World packaging traditions from Russian and Eastern European style vodkas, to its first cutting-edge, lifestyle marketing campaigns -- SKYY has always challenged convention and taken a fresh perspective. Following this lead, SKYY's "West of Expected" platform centers on that very notion -- that anything can be made better with fresh thinking -- and is presented with clever tongue-in-cheek wit, ensuring that it never takes itself too seriously. 

"In 1992, SKYY was born in San Francisco with the belief that everything can be made better with a little fresh thinking. It's how we created our vodka and the way we see the world," said Kathleen Schuart, Senior Marketing Director, White Spirits and Cordials, Campari America. "It's with this spirit that SKYY's new marketing platform is inviting us to take an optimistic view and reimagine the world around us. We are kicking off our campaign by challenging our thinking around the givens in our social lives, interactions and experiences, in a fun and clever way."

SKYY partnered with internationally recognized independent San Francisco advertising agency, Venables Bell & Partners, to help reimagine the brand's image and capture the irreverent and rule-breaking essence and heritage of SKYY's roots. The agency is best known for creating award-winning challenger-approach campaigns for brands like Audi of America, Google, eBay and Intel. Most recently, Cannes Lions awarded Venables Bell & Partners for its Intel "Look Inside" film series, which highlights making the impossible, possible.

"SKYY was invented in California, an unexpected place to conceive a vodka and is created in unexpected ways, like an innovative filtration process using real California limestone," said Will McGinness, Executive Creative Director, Venables Bell & Partners. "So it was important to create a campaign that was equally original, not following any traditional liquor advertising clichés. We think today's consumers have seen enough perfect-people-laughing-while-holding-martini-glasses-in-spirits advertising. It is time for something different."

The witty TV spots, directed by Mike Maguire of Biscuit Filmworks, are on a set inspired by a galaxy where an eccentric host delivers lessons on the universe -- only rather than explaining the cosmic significance of a star cluster, these lessons illuminate how to make one's evening better with a little fresh thinking as told by the host and a troop of surreal camouflaged choreographed stagehands with a series of peculiar props.

In the first episode of the series, "Attraction," the host explores the nature of attraction in the universe using an apple and an orange. Only the audience quickly comes to realize that he's really using the fruit to explore the cosmic importance of a wingman when going out -- or, in this case, a "wing-lemon." The out-of-home campaign continues the same witty and unexpected perspective with taglines like, "Vodka so filtered, we even took the Russia out of it" and "No artificial traditions added." One cheeky execution reminds bar patrons, "Your bartender has a name. It's not hey."

SKYY will be bringing the same "West of Expected" mentality to its fully integrated marketing campaign and will build programs that are continually evolving, encourage conversation and appeal to a new generation of vodka drinkers. The summer's highlights include:

  • SKYY's new LGBT program, Toast to Marriage, is designed to draw together communities to help increase visibility and raise funds for Freedom to Marry, the sole national organization dedicated to winning marriage for all nationwide.
  • In the on-premise, SKYY is focused on connecting with consumers by creating innovative nightlife experiences. SKYY recently partnered with Boiler Room TV, the leading music platform in underground music, to launch SKYY Stream, one-of-a-kind HD quality live DJ shows that deliver a nightlife experience like no other directly to consumers through social media.
  • Available on premise from July - September, SKYY is breaking the rules on packaging again, releasing a first-of-its-kind limited-edition bottle uniquely designed for bottle service, SKYY ELECTRIFYY, which features a graphic LED label that moves to the beat of the music.

The "West of Expected" TV campaign will be unveiled on July 9 nationwide and will appear in national general consumer television and in online executions. Media includes ESPN, FX, AMC, IFC, Bravo, Comedy Central, Logo, TBS, TNT, NBC and VH1. Digital includes Hulu, YouTube, Urban Daddy and Vice. Out-of-home will appear in key markets including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Seattle, Milwaukee, Dallas, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, New Jersey and Boston.

"West of Expected" will continue with more breakthrough 360-degree programming to come throughout 2014 and 2015.

About SKYY Vodka
SKYY Vodka was invented in San Francisco in 1992 and is steeped with the innovative and progressive spirit of California. Conceived by an inventor looking to create the world's smoothest vodka, SKYY revolutionized vodka quality with its proprietary quadruple-distillation and triple-filtration process to deliver a fresh, clean spirit. Like many things that originate in San Francisco, SKYY grew from a tiny startup into what it is today -- the leading domestic premium vodka in the US. To learn more, visit SKYY.com

About Venables Bell & Partners
Venables Bell & Partners is an independent San Francisco advertising agency founded on good intentions. VB&P is privileged to work with SKYY, Audi of America, Reebok, Intel, and the Phillips 66 Company, among others. To learn more, visit www.venablesbell.com.

About Campari America
Campari America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Davide Campari-Milano S.p.A. (Reuters CPRI.MI - Bloomberg CPR IM). At the heart of Campari America are two legends in the American spirits industry. The first, Skyy Spirits, was founded in San Francisco back in 1992 by the entrepreneur who invented iconic SKYY Vodka. The second is the world-famous Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, where they have been making the world's finest whiskies since the 1800's. Both companies were purchased by Davide Campari-Milano and together they form Campari America, which has built a portfolio unrivaled in its quality, innovation and style, making it a top choice among distributors, retailers and consumers. Campari America manages Gruppo Campari's portfolio in the US with such leading brands as SKYY® Vodka, SKYY Infusions®, Campari®, Wild Turkey® Straight Kentucky Bourbon, American Honey®, Russell's Reserve®, Glen Grant® Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Forty Creek® Whisky, Cabo Wabo® Tequila, Espolón® Tequila, Appleton® Estate Rum, Wray & Nephew® Rum, Coruba® Rum, Ouzo 12®, X-Rated® Fusion Liqueur®, Frangelico®, Cynar®, Carolans Irish Cream®, Irish Mist® Liqueur, Sagatiba® Cachaça and Jean-Marc XO Vodka®. 

Campari America is headquartered in San Francisco, California. More information on the company can be found at www.campariamerica.com, www.facebook.com/campariamerica, Twitter: @CampariAmerica and www.camparigroup.com. Please enjoy Campari America brands responsibly and in moderation.

About Gruppo Campari
Davide Campari-Milano S.p.A., together with its affiliates ('Gruppo Campari'), is a major player in the global beverage sector, trading in over 190 nations around the world with leading positions in Europe and the Americas. The Group was founded in 1860 and today is the sixth-largest player worldwide in the premium spirits industry. The Group's portfolio, with over 50 brands, spans spirits, the core business, wines and soft drinks. Internationally-renowned brands include Aperol, Appleton, Campari, Cinzano, SKYY and Wild Turkey. Headquartered in Sesto San Giovanni, Italy, Campari owns 16 plants and 4 wineries worldwide and has its own distribution network in 18 countries. The Group employs over 4,000 people. The shares of the parent company, Davide Campari-Milano S.p.A. (Reuters CPRI.MI - Bloomberg CPR IM), are listed on the Italian Stock Exchange since 2001. For more information: http://www.camparigroup.com

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