New Amsterdam Vodka: 5 Questions With E. & J. Gallo’s Michael Sachs

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New Amsterdam vodka x Omari Williams

It’s a new day in the vodka market, and New Amsterdam Vodka is one of the players transforming the business. As millennials take to spirits in strong numbers and with a different attitude than their parents, new brands such as New Amsterdam, which is distilled by E. & J. Gallo Winery, and Tito’s have won market share from traditional stalwarts such as Absolut and Smirnoff.

In that effort, the TV spot in a major new consumer advertising campaign, “Pour Your Soul Out,” features an up-and-coming drummer, Omari Williams, who goes all-out for his art, whether practicing in his apartment at 4 a.m., performing at the local dive bar or in an empty subway station, or on bigger stages.

“By launching this major campaign, we hope to increase brand awareness and position ourselves as one of the leading vodka brands in the spirits industry,” Michael Sachs, director of spirits marketing including New Amsterdam for E. & J. Gallo, told brandchannel. “Our goal is to be number one, and our true sweet spot is to get as many consumers between 21-29 on board with New Amsterdam Vodka as possible. ”

New Amsterdam has been around only since 2011, but Gallo’s pricing and distribution experience and clout have helped the brand achieve prime retail placement. Its savvy and consumer research have helped New Amsterdam formulate winning flavored vodkas including red berry, coconut and pineapple. And now, with its biggest-ever $10-million marketing campaign, New Amsterdam aims to boost the brand’s emotional appeal through a campaign that includes lots of digital elements including a Complex video.

“We believe there is still a large share of the millennial market we’d like to reach and convert to be loyal consumers,” Sachs said. “We have such a vast distribution network throughout the country, and now it’s time to match that with a significant marketing effort.”

We spoke with Sachs for more insights on the new campaign.

bc: How did you land on this creative theme and emphasis on passion and hard work?

Michael Sachs - Director, Spirits Marketing E. & J. Gallo WineryMichael Sachs: At New Amsterdam Vodka, we’re all about giving 110% to our work and passions every day. We wanted to depict this drive and determination through this creative, and Omari Williams was the perfect person to cast in this spot. As an accomplished drummer who has toured with major artists and contributed to several albums, he embodies the New Amsterdam Vodka spirit and really understood the ethos of our campaign.


bc: In addition to the TV campaign, how is it coming to life through event sponsorships? ·

Sachs: Our PR agency, WME IMG, has been securing sponsorship opportunities that align with our priorities as a brand and resonate with our millennial male consumer, specifically capturing cultural moments they care about like Art Basel, Fashion Week and music festivals.

For example, we were the exclusive vodka sponsor of NYLON Guys’ Music Issue Celebration & Governor’s Ball Party in Brooklyn on June 2, which was a major opportunity for us to get in front of target consumers and key influencers, and included special “Pour Your Soul Out” elements. We have a few more exciting sponsorships in the works during the rest of June to reach our music-loving consumers.


bc: What’s the Complex video series about?

Sachs: Building on the success of the Run the Underground video series from 2016, Complex will build a movement that inspires entrepreneurialism, focusing on individuals who give their all. The content will debut later this month and will tell the story of those who give 110% every day—giving us another key tool to bring the spirit of “Pour Your Soul Out” to life.


bc: For social outreach, you’re using Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat in addition to Facebook and Twitter. Can you elaborate on your social media strategy for the launch?

Sachs: Our main focus for social media is Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat, as those are the platforms where our digitally savvy millennial consumers spend their time. We released a national Snapchat filter, which will help our fans celebrate the weekend and connect with the fun, lighthearted side of New Amsterdam Vodka. In addition, we had a YouTube masthead takeover where everyone over 21 on the platform saw our advertising for 24 hours. We want to be everywhere our consumer is for this launch.


bc; What has Gallo learned from growing a vodka brand – outside its wheelhouse of wine?

Sachs: We have learned that even though vodka is a competitive category, our industry connections and strengths from being owned by a winery have given us a huge advantage over our competitors and allowed us to grow so rapidly. Our expertise in the wine business has carried over to our learnings with vodka and helped us exponentially when it comes to the distillation process and developing a top-notch quality vodka.


Get more branding insights in our Q&A series. Suggest a Q&A: editor@brandchannel.com.

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