Smirnoff launched their provocative and thoughtful campaign earlier this year, which centred around the experience of members of the deaf community. In particular, it focused in on the deaf dance teacher Chris Fonseca, who teaches other deaf people how to dance. It was an evocative campaign. We consider what we would have done with it digitally; what kind of appropriate digital marketing Ireland would have reacted to best (In our humble opinion). ‘Deaf or not deaf, everyone can dance’, ‘I don’t feel the music but I feel the beat.’ Under the umbrella campaign ‘We’re Open’, the main theme of this particular idea is ‘inclusivity.’ Finding itself in an increasingly crowded marketplace in terms of ‘premium’ vodka, Smirnoff decided to shine a spotlight on classically fractured sections of society in this ‘We’re open’ campaign (the LGBT community, the deaf community, etc.). This is a reaction to the traditionally high-end campaigns which are the preserve of luxury spirits. Instead of appearing sleek, coveted, expensive, it decided to show a more ‘human’ side to the brand. That it cares about the community. To this end, the campaign can be seen as a success, as we become aware of these sections of the community which deserve a spotlight to be shone on them. The campaign was a markedly different approach for a brand like Smirnoff’s. So, what approach could be adopted in a digital sense? Exactly what kind of digital marketing Ireland’s target market could be engaged by?  

What Kind Of Approach To Digital Marketing Ireland Would Have Engaged With?

We would have loved to look into the potential digital aspect of the campaign. Maybe it would have involved developing this idea of interpreting someone’s experience of ‘feeling a beat.’ We would have considered producing a series of short, made for social videos, where we experience what its like to be deaf. We would view the world from the deaf person’s point of view. So the videos would be pure visual, no audio. And we share this person’s day to day experience, as they traverse a world that isn’t so accommodating for those with hearing loss. There would be a scene of watching television with subtitles, of walking down the street, maybe not hearing a car, nearly getting run over, etc. Eventually we hear a low ‘thud’ noise in the background. And it gets gradually louder, and faster. The video edits woulds quicken in step with this tempo rise, as the scene builds more and more tension. Eventually the thud or beat reveals itself properly, and eventually we find ourselves in a dance club. The thud was the music beat, and this person’s day was building up to this moment, where they cut free and they dance. Tagline: ‘I don’t feel the music but I feel the beat.’ We could splice this arcing overall scene into smaller, social media friendly snippets, with the idea of the ‘beat’ rising every time throughout them.  

Conceiving An App: Digital Marketing Ireland Knows

This could have possibly come in the form of an interactive app. The app would have access to your phone’s music (or you could upload pieces of music) and it adopts the beat of the chosen track using the vibration function on your phone only. Just like feeling the sound-wave of the beat emanate from a speaker in a nightclub. It would ‘play’ all of (or a portion of) the track using only the vibration function on your phone. Just like how a deaf person would interpret it/experience it.   It would be similar to that movie ‘It’s All Gone Pete Tong,’ where the main character DJ loses his hearing, but eventually figures out that he can continue producing dance music by using his sense of touch with speakers made solely for his feet in his studio. It would be an immersive, smart app to draw comparison with a deaf person’s experience, with the aim of making you consider their day-to-day. The app could also be interactive. For example you could see how good you are at spotting the ‘beat motifs’ in your favourite music. It would shuffle your music library (or whatever music you uploaded) and you had to correctly identify the music playing using only the corresponding vibration pattern the app presented to you. There would then be a function to upload it online to compare with friends, other users, etc.  

Just An Idea We’d Love To Try!

An off-kilter, over-all different experience like this would further highlight how Smirnoff purposefully veered away from what would traditionally be considered typical high-end liquor advertising. It could have been effective digital marketing Ireland would have been able to interact with. It would have further engaged the target market with Smirnoff’s message of ‘humanity’, which they aimed to get across. Just a typical example of an idea we’d come up with here at Rogue…