In the noisy, competitive vodka market, Finlandia wanted to cut through as a premium brand for younger, upmarket drinkers, and to raise awareness of the brand.
The chosen theme for the brand's newspaper campaign with The Independent was "Pure Emotion", building on the brand's associations with the clean, clear natural environment of Finland, combined with the emotional power of newspapers.
The newspaper's Independent Solutions division, the creative arm of the display advertising sales department, worked with Finlandia's communications agency, Universal McCann, across The Independent print and online. Gail Edmans, the business development manager of Independent Solutions, led the project team in creating a powerful campaign.
A co-branded microsite was created at independent.co.uk to encourage readers/users to share videos, photos and stories of their own "Pure Emotion" experiences. The microsite included three "Pure Emotion" features, with people talking about their own emotional highs and lows in music, travel and sport. There were also three user-generated "Pure Emotion" galleries, featuring stories, pictures and video from independent.co.uk users, all about emotional moments from their lives.
The microsite introduction read: "This site celebrates Pure Emotion and the things that cause it, whether extraordinary or everyday. There are times when expressing only Pure Emotion will do. It might be something momentous in your life or something 'trivial', which means the world to you. We asked the likes of Sam Lewis, the lead guitarist with KT Tunstall, and The Independent's senior travel editor, Simon Calder, for their pure emotion, but we want yours too ..."
There was an online competition, with a top prize of £5,000 for the best upload to the "Pure Emotion" galleries, and six weekly prizes worth £500, ranging from a Virgin Experience Day to travel vouchers and European festival tickets. The microsite also included a gallery of 20 front pages of The Independent from the past year, underlining the emotional power of newspapers, as well as Finlandia advertorial.
In print, the promotion launched with a half-page advertorial in the newspaper's Traveller magazine, followed two Saturdays later by full-page advertorial in The Independent Magazine. Teaser ads on the sports pages drove readers to the promotion. The Independent used specific sections that relate to the theme of pure emotion to attract the target audience, such as travel, music and sport, and incorporated advertorials written by Independent editorial staff.
Online, in addition to co-branded traffic drivers, there was a link to the promotion in the Sponsored Features box on the independent.co.uk homepage. Text links to "Pure Emotion" were included in The Independent's daily e-mail newsletter to 80,000 subscribers and a marketing e-mail to a 20,000-strong database. The microsite attracted 8,602 monthly unique visitors who spent on average just under five minutes on the site. There were 1,213 competition entries.
The Independent's campaign tied in with the Finlandia Vodka Pure Emotion Exhibition at Camden's Proud Gallery, showing real people's pure emotions in their own words through stories, images and video clips. The brand also focused on its natural purity in an advertising take-over of Euston station.
"The Finlandia Pure Emotion campaign proved to be a great partnership with The Independent," Vicki Harding at Finlandia's PR agency, Iris PR, said. "The extent and level of response to the competition was fantastic and driven largely by the online presence, traffic drivers and the fact that such interesting content was uploaded by readers. The Independent were really easy to work with - thoroughly flexible and they put in a great deal of hard work."
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