Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Vodka firm aims to oust rival from LGBT market

NEW YORK – Stolichnaya vodka, which wants to oust Absolut as the reigning vodka in the gay and lesbian market, has launched a year-long series of programs on Viacom’s Logo cable channel.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT for short) consumers are attractive both as trendsetters and for high disposable income: an expected $641 billion in spending this year, up from $600 billion in 2005, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Absolut, the top U.S. import, for many years has courted this market.

Stoli’s campaign began with a one-hour, ad-free documentary that it produced, “Be Real: Stories from Queer America,” on the LGBT-oriented Logo channel. The film will appear at least 10 times on Logo as part of their year-long deal.

Stolichnaya looked beyond traditional advertising to market “in a culturally relevant way,” says Adam Rosen, senior brand manager. “Because of the nature of the community as trendsetting, they are heavily marketed to and very skeptical of advertising,”

The deal with Logo also includes a six-episode reality show to air in April, tentatively titled “Be Real.” It will profile pairs of couples going through parallel experiences, such as a commitment ceremony. Last month, Stolichnaya launched www.stolibereal.com, where visitors can watch the documentary online and also nominate couples for “Be Real.”

The shows contain no commercials within, but will open and close with “sponsored by Stoli” messages and a 30-second ad for Stoli’s latest flavor, Blueberi.

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