- Tito's Handmade Vodka is celebrating its 25th birthday with a new augmented reality (AR) feature that teaches consumers about the brand's founding and origin story, according to information shared with Marketing Dive.
- The AR experience will be available by using a smartphone camera to scan a QR code on in-store displays. The story features art by Paul Mann and is told in four parts, "The Distillery," "The Juice," "The Hometown" and "The Dogs."
- The first 5,000 users who view all four parts are invited to join the Tito's Taster's email list and receive a limited-edition bottle topper via mail. The activation allows Tito's to collect valuable first-party data on fans while making use of a fun AR experience to mark a brand milestone.
Tito's Handmade Vodka is leaning into its roots for its 25th birthday. The brand's story will be celebrated not only in AR, but also on the back of special bottles and through a short film that will be featured on digital and social channels.
The AR activation creates a personal connection between the company and its fans, while educating people on how the spirits brand was developed. Playing up the brand's Austin, Texas, roots may be a smart play at a time when vodka has fallen increasingly out of favor. Vodka is typically associated with Russia, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has turned some consumers off of anything that is perceived as Russian, even if the brand or product is not Russian. Tito's already emphasizes southwestern roots with its bottle design, and choosing to lean further into that angle is a creative approach to woo consumers with its "made in America" branding.
Vodka as a whole has been on the decline. In 2010, alcohol suppliers on average made about 25% of their revenue from vodka, but that number had fallen to about 20% in 2021. However, Tito's has mostly avoided those losses. The brand grew 20% in volume in 2019, and sold more than 65 million bottles in 2018. This places it among the most popular distilled spirits sold in the U.S.
In addition to celebrating the brand's roots for its 25th anniversary, the activation also allows the vodka brand to collect valuable first-party data on potential customers. As Google moves to phase out third-party cookies and Apple ends cross-app tracking, brands need fresh ways to learn about consumers' habits to inform future marketing efforts. By linking the AR activation to a newsletter and enticing users to subscribe for the chance to win a prize, the brand can collect the emails of interested consumers. This allows Tito's to market to its fans directly through email marketing campaigns, a move that could promote engagement. The prize element not only incentivizes users, but also makes them feel like they received something in exchange for their personal information.