vodka

Baboushka branding part 2

I've already written about the trend of giving Russian or Russian-sounding names to products and brands in my post Baboushka branding or a bit of "Russianness" in marketing. In that blog post, I talked about a seemingly persistent trend among US and European companies to take inspiration for product and brand names from the Russian language.  Specifically, I talked about a concrete fascination by the word b a b o u s h k a. And here is another baboushka story for you!

I've just come across this post about a recently redesigned bottle for an Australian-produced vodka called Baboushka. While purely from the design point of view I find the bottle design quite okay, there are some details that struck me in the text of the article, namely:

1) According to the article, the agency that redesigned the bottle, "built an emotional brand story around the existing ‘Baboushka’ name avoiding Russian vodka inspired clichés." I wonder  how  can such a truly Russian name allow one to avoid Russian cliches, and why would one even want to avoid them?  Baboushka is just a common noun in Russian, there are no real stories attributed to it, at least in the context of its common use.

Image of Baboushka vodka. Incorrect Russian text is underlined in red

2) The Russian text on the bottle does not really mean anything.  I guess that «Премия водка» was an attempt to translate "premium vodka", quite unsuccessfully.  I suggest to brands that try to seek inspiration from foreign languages and cultures to always check with qualified people who speak those languages first!  :)

To conclude, the use of "baboushka" in brand discourse never stops to surprise me.  I think there's even some additional meaning that's been developing around this word outside of Russia, and some Russian-speaking linguists should definitely look into it.

As far as brand strategy goes, my advice is to check the spelling and meaning of foreign words you put on your packaging.  This will surely help you avoid some surprises!

Brands are getting naked

Having already spoken about a company called Naked Wines, as well as  Naked Chef, I am now going to speak about naked... vodka. Getting "naked" for brands is a demonstration of authenticity, openness and being perceived for what you are rather than what you look.

The "naked" tendency is becoming the sign of the zeitgeist.

Have a look at this "naked" bottle of vodka. It has no logo, and no name. Do you recognize it?

Image source: http://lovelypackage.com

Even if you are not very much into drinking vodka, you must have guessed: it's Absolut.

The brand that has dressed up its famous Swedish bottle, designed back in 1979, into so many "outfits", is recognizable even "nude".  This is a smart move, Absolut's response to the spirit of times, but something that only a VERY well-known brand could do. If your would-be-funky brand cannot boast any significant brand awareness yet, you gotta dress it up nicely first.

“For the first time we dare to face the world completely naked. We launch a bottle with no label and no logo, to manifest the idea, that no matter what’s on the outside, it’s the inside that really matters. The bottle visually manifests our belief in diversity and our standpoint when it comes to sexual identities. Of course it is also a wonderful piece of delicate and minimalist design, a true collectors item” says Kristina Hagbard, Global PR Manager at The Absolut Company (See original source).

In the past, Absolut has already made some associations with nakedness. Here is an image  from my marketing assignment paper prepared together with my MBA team at IE Business school:

AbsolutHunk

And here is a little analysis snapshot from the same paper we wrote:

AbsolutIEpaper

You can see that one of the main product attributes is the "medical level purity". The naked bottle does a good job communicating this important feature of the Absolut brand.

Artists and brands

As a follow-up to the article "Is Branding Important for Artists?", this is an interview with Florida-based young artist Thaneeya McArdle. In this funky brand interview, Thaneeya talks about her passion for art, developing human connections with the help of the Internet, living life to the fullest and about her funky artist brand.

Baboushka Branding, or a bit of "Russianness" in marketing

This article illustrates use of Russian-sounding names in product marketing in Western Europe. It also identifies the gap of Russian brands outside of Russia's borders.