Vodka brand Grey Goose is taking its experiential marketing up a notch with virtual experiences. Specifically, the Bacardi-owned brand is leaning into the metaverse, most recently for an activation with the US Open Tennis Championships.
Earlier this month, Grey Goose created an immersive experience on metaverse platform Decentraland for the US Open in which visitors learned about the US Open’s signature cocktail, the Honey Deuce. The activation also featured an interactive display that allowed visitors to toast the players.
“We were eager to meet our consumers in this space,” Grey Goose vp Aleco Azqueta said of bringing the brand to the metaverse. “The US Open was the most natural tie-in for our brand, given its connection to sports and gaming.”
Using events like the US Open to build its metaverse marketing strategy allows Grey Goose to create new programming to attract its target demographic and stand out to sport fans and alcohol drinkers. To develop its virtual activation, Grey Goose enlisted Razorfish, an interactive agency specializing in web development, media planning and buying, technology and innovation.
For the US Open activation, Grey Goose wanted its virtual experience to draw a strong connection with how consumers engage with its brand in real life. To achieve this, Grey Goose set up interactive games and challenges to give visitors a chance to win a variety of prizes, including limited edition wearables, merchandise and tickets to the Grey Goose suite at next year’s US Open.
Grey Goose previously experimented with metaverse marketing as part of the brand’s partnership with Peter Dundas at the Grammy Awards, which included limited-edition NFTs and a martini-shaped bag created by Grey Goose and Peter Dundas for Paris Hilton. With the US Open activation, “this is our first fully interactive digital world we’ve built” and Grey Goose is looking to “continue exploring Web3 capabilities in the months and years to come,” Azqueta said.
It’s unclear how much of Grey Goose’s advertising budget is allocated to this campaign in the metaverse, as Azqueta would not share overall budget specifics. However, he did share that the vast majority of their ad spend (70%) has been on digital channels, with social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounting for 26% of the brand’s total spend. According to Pathmatics data, Grey Goose spent a little over $4.1 million so far this year on advertising efforts.
Grey Goose’s US Open marketing strategy hinges on cementing a bond between the tournament and the brand. Grey Goose and the US Open have a long-standing partnership, which began in 2007, through which Grey Goose wants to increase its cultural presence and boost brand awareness.
As part of its metaverse marketing strategy, Grey Goose has been offering limited-edition wearables in a MetaVIP Lounge that have consistently sold out, Azqueta said, with 26,000 downloaded just one week into the US Open tournament. “This is why we’re exploring activities across NYC and the metaverse,” said Azqueta.
On top of its US Open activation, Grey Goose continued a push into delivery services and at-home cocktails. For example, in New York, Brooklyn and Manhattan residents could have pre-made, chilled Honey Deuce cocktails delivered by Cocktail Courier.
“Grey Goose has hit a home run with the Honey Deuce, because they continually evolve it,” said Damian Areyan, vp and group director of lifestyle marketing and partnerships at integrated media, digital and communications agency Team One. “Home delivery cocktails, a frozen version, a cocktail kit, cocktail recipes across social media, they use the US Open to drive awareness for their entire portfolio. They’re also using this time to make the Honey Deuce an online cultural moment for the US Open.”
In the coming years, marketing in the metaverse may move from experimental to standard for major brands, as adoption of the space grows. “Grey Goose and the US Open benefit significantly because not only does the partnership enhance the fan experience, it’s become iconic in its own right,” said Bob Lynch, founder and CEO of sponsorships intelligence platform SponsorUnited. “The expansion of this partnership allows both the US Open and Grey Goose to reach cultural influencers in music, fashion and sports who are digitally connected.”