SKYY Vodka: Product Placement Done Right

Somebody is doing product placement right. And that somebody is SKYY Vodka when it joins with DJ Antoine. Check out the music video and guess why they have done it right.

Audience & Reality Check

SKYY is a FMCG brand, so they need to sell a lot to make the ends meet and even more to be profitable. The brand positions itself as a party vodka and a key ingredient to mixed drinks and cocktails. Their main target audience is the posh people. Forget the hipsters, the punk rock fans or the aging population over 55.

SKYY wants to get people between 18 and 30 who attend house parties in high-end apartments or villas intended only for a selected audience. Chances are they have rich parents, high-paid jobs, drive a Porsche and have a lot of free time on their hands. At the same time, they can be depended on (always on time, pay their bills, are no freeloaders). They live in the world of perfect models, skinny girls with impeccable make-up and very very hot bodies.

Wait a minute… If that were the target audience, SKYY would have sold only a couple of bottles per quarter. No, they are going after people who are aspiring to be like those free-spirited high-earners. So, the description still stands, but you need to bump the target market down a notch in terms of limited disponible income.

Picking The Right Vessel for The Message

Given that SKYY wants to be the ultimate party vodka, they have to partner with someone whose music gets played at the parties and in the clubs. DJ Antoine is a very good match.

  • The target market perceives him as sophisticated, popular and cool.
  • He plays simple yet addictive tunes.
  • His music is well-known and frequently played at parties all over the U.S. and Europe.
  • Video clips of his songs on YouTube reach a million of views without any significant effort. The viral potential is high.

Product Plays A Central Role in The Video

Without a strong involvement of the product or a brand in the story, the effects of product placement efforts are minimal. The brand needs to play a central role to make an impact, according to a review paper on product placement by Williams, Petrosky, Hernandez and Page. And that’s exactly what SKYY does.

The bottle of vodka becomes a catalyst for the main protagonist to find his partner (either for the night or for the entire life; the video doesn’t specify that). You can also see that SKYY is in every key moment of the video – the main protagonist uses it to play “spin the bottle” and every shot to the past features the hero looking at the bottle before paying for it (some extra exposure for SKYY).

In the end, it’s the SKYY Vodka that determines compatibility of the story’s hero and his mate. The process for the guy then goes as follows:

  1. I see a beautiful girl stopping because of the bottle of SKYY I kicked close to her feet.
  2. I see a bottle of SKYY. Wow, that’s familiar. I buy these myself. She must like it.
  3. We remember each other from the store, where she bought the same vodka as I did. We must have something in common.
  4. She smiles at me, therefore, she thinks the same.

As you can see, the bottle of vodka plays an important role as a social object that gets the man laid in the ideal scenario. In the real world, he would either have to impress with brilliance or baffle the poor girl with bullshit to get her in his bed. Not so in the video – it is all implied, but not explicitly shown.

This video persuades the viewers to buy SKYY Vodka not only by appealing on similarity and liking of the protagonist and the girl he meets at the end. It tells the viewers: “Our brand is so well-defined and distinct that its buyers recognize each other’s values only by looking at the product they have in common.” By definition, similarities attract.

The aspirational visual settings of the video also appeal to the viewers. Luxurious watches, spacious surroundings, apparently expensive suits, staff and entertainment at the party are the best ways along with plenty of trophy girls to create the impression of exclusivity and high society. We don’t see there any cars due to the fact that SKYY is a brand priding itself on responsibility and not promoting drinking and driving.

Well done, guys!


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About the author: Honza Felt is neither cute nor funny. To compensate for these tragic flaws, he writes about marketing, analytics and communication, so more gullible people think he is smart if nothing else. Well, at least he’s honest…

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