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In a recent article for BusinessWeek, Jim Mosley, vice president of consumer planning and research for Diageo, makers of Absolut and Smirnoff, stated the company would be targeting middle-aged women consumers—who account for 62% of vodka purchases made in stores.  Toward the goal, you will soon see advertising and promotions through food and lifestyle websites such as NBC Universal’s Today.

Surprised?  Maybe we shouldn’t be.

After all, SKYY Vodka® recently announced it will once again serve as the official vodka and promotional partner for the highly anticipated new film Sex and the City 2, which is set to hit theatres in the U.S. on May 28th.  “Women are an exceptionally important target for vodka brands,” says Maura McGinn, group brand director vodka and cordials, SKYY Spirits.  “We know that more than half of all vodka purchases in the U.S. are made by women and when you consider who is buying in the important grocery and discount retailer channels, that number spikes even higher.”

The partnership, which includes advertising, promotions, sweepstakes/giveaways, limited-edition bottles and advance charity screenings, is helping the brand create what it calls the ‘cocktail couture’, the convergence of the iconic Sex and the City style and upscale cocktailing.  “As a marketer, we must find compelling propositions for the female demographic which is SKYY teaming up with Sex and the City 2 this year,” says McGinn.  “It can also be seen as one of the major drivers of success for our new All Natural SKYY Infusions products.  In creating that new line of vodkas, we found that queues such as ‘all natural’ and ‘infusions’ not only matched a broad consumer trend, they also indexed high with women in general.  I think that is what really pushed the recent release of SKYY Infusions into being our biggest launch in history.”

That is just one of many examples of how by targeting women the spirit industry has been able to see a bump in its overall numbers.  Although women currently account for 55% of wine purchases, it appears beer makers are still working to ‘crack the code’.  “I’ve heard women referred to as the ‘holy grail’ by beer industry executives,” says upcoming M2W® speaker Bridget Brennan in her book ‘Why She Buys.’

Do you think this trend will continue throughout the adult beverage world?  If so, what is it about women that producers of vodka and wine are getting so right and beer makers seem to be missing?


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