In times of crisis, many marketers shift gears toward brand-building to garner consumer trust and establish long-term equity. Belvedere is taking a unique, product-focused approach to this with a new global brand platform that showcases how its natural vodka reflects the values ingrained in its origin story.
The LVMH-owned spirit is launching a fresh marketing blitz today with visually emotive videos, a product introduction and new corporate social responsibility initiatives. In a pivot from past creative efforts, "Made With Nature" was designed to communicate Belvedere's simple ingredients — Polksa rye and purified water that are distilled by fire — and tie them to the brand's philosophy that's infused with purpose, CMO Billy Paretti said.
"It's about enriching life by revealing the beauty of nature. What that brings forth is that from very simple ingredients, exceptional things can be born," said Paretti, who has spent more than 15 years at various LVMH brands.
Reinforcing natural elements
Earth, water and fire take center stage in the campaign's new creative that debuts today in the U.S., France, Germany and Australia. A 30-second hero spot shows sweeping views of mountains, rivers and other outdoor scenes to reinforce the association between the elements and Belvedere's core ingredients. Shorter 15- and 6-second clips will run on paid and owned media.
The focus on simplicity and nature represents a shift in the brand's creative direction, according to Paretti.
"We've been consistently inconsistent with our messaging over the years. [Our ads] have always been centered around lifestyle, so there's always people at the forefront," he said. "In this campaign and brand platform, nature is the hero, and how we work with nature to deliver our product is the narrative."
Past Belvedere campaigns include celebrity tie-ins and partnerships with people who embody the brand. In June 2019, the spirits maker teamed with musician Janelle Monáe on an initiative to promote opportunities for women through music, arts, mentorship and education. However, tying a well-known face to a brand's creative strategy can come with a unique set of marketing challenges, according to Paretti.
"Janelle [Monáe] could technically eclipse the message we're trying to bring forth because she's the star of the narrative," he said. "This time, it was important for us to tell a product story so people understand we are as much substance as we are style."
Belvedere has no plans to forego spokespeople like Monáe in future campaigns, per Paretti. Made With Nature will evolve over the next 18 to 24 months with the goal of it being the brand's core global platform by the end of 2021 or early 2022.
From words to action
The effort's focus on embracing and protecting nature is a theme that many people may relate to as they look to outdoor adventures during the pandemic that has limited travel. Made With Nature was designed to key into this target audience of environmentally and socially conscious consumers, who are increasingly looking to buy from brands that share their values.
"In this campaign and brand platform, nature is the hero, and how we work with nature to deliver our product is the narrative."
"We understood that consumers now care more about brands with purpose and having a balance between substance and style — not just being all flash — which linked very clearly with the story we wanted to tell," Paretti said.
Belvedere is leveraging this campaign to introduce responsible business practices as it looks to "stand for something or risk irrelevance," according to a press release shared with Marketing Dive. New CSR initiatives include selling only products that are all-natural and organic starting in 2021; operating at a zero-waste level by 2025; working with vendors and farmers to source sustainably minded plastics and eliminate pesticide use by 2030.
These pledges link directly to Made With Nature and Belvedere's new outdoorsy creative direction, a move that may resonate with the brand's target audience of experience-driven, socially minded consumers, according to Paretti.
"They care as much about what they do to the world as they do with what they put in their bodies," he said. "They want to consume the best and be responsible, and they really care about the place they hold in the world."