forceMAJEURE Design’s Spirited Cîroc Honey Melon Campaign

By: Griffin Heller, Account Director, forceMAJEURE Design

From end-to-end, Cîroc Honey Melon exemplifies product innovation and category disruption through a simple willingness to be bold. Highlighted across all touchpoints, Cîroc’s latest Limited Edition—at the time of launching—challenges the expected. The flavor profile is daring, the bottle design is provocative, the campaign strategy challenges the norm, and the execution is a clash of cultures through confidence and beauty. All of this comes together to sell more than a mere product, but a stance on disrupting the ordinary. 

Our inspiration, like many other projects, was rooted in disruption. However, for Cîroc Honey Melon, we wanted to have disruption at the core and entrenched in culture. Country clubs have a stigma that tends to be stuffy, exclusive, and culturally dated—Cîroc consumers are fundamentally the opposite. We wanted to celebrate our consumer’s values and bring the two tensions head-to-head by shooting a campaign with our audience taking over a country club with conviction.

The strategic foundation of this campaign was not far removed from the inspiration; both centered around two main things. The first was cultural disruption, and the second was deeply understanding our consumers and how having a strong societal stance encourages engagement and action. We wanted our youthful, culturally diverse, and self-expressive consumers to see themselves through the campaign and, more importantly, be proud to engage with the product as a result. “No Reservations Needed”—the campaign headline—was the perfect way to articulate this state of mind. 

One of our main challenges for the campaign execution was that it needed to be clear that this campaign was for a vodka rather than a lifestyle or sportswear brand. Although the simple answer may appear to be simply making the product take center stage, we never want to blend in with the rest of the category. Our solution was finding a very fine line to balance, in visual executions, between playful luxury lifestyle and cocktail occasion moments that come together as a subconscious nod to the category and product. 

The clients’ needs were easily met throughout the process because we’ve worked incredibly closely with the brand team for many years. This allows us to truly understand the brand, the business strategy, and the consumer needs at a profound level. We’re also the branding agency of record, so we deeply understand Cîroc’s tone of voice, personality, platform, and overall consumer-facing strategy, enabling us to have trust and creative freedom from clients. 

Although much of the data is confidential to Diageo, Cîroc Honey Melon is one of the top new flavors in the vodka category. Over the past six months, Cîroc Honey Melon has delivered over 20 BPS in Nielsen and NABCA category shares. (Nielsen 9.9.23 NABCA 8.31.23).

Reflecting on the Honey Melon campaign and rollout, I think that among the Agency and the Brand Team, there’s a unanimous sense of pride in pushing the boundaries of what’s ‘safe’ or societally ‘expected.’ This campaign, standing out among most, showcases that spirits brands can play a role in cultural progression and help disrupt societal norms. 

As an agency, we always look for lessons and takeaways to integrate into future work. For Cîroc Honey Melon, we added the following reinforcement to our creative checklist: Do not answer a brief in a way that you think will be ‘bought.’ Answer the brief in a genuine, engaging way, bound to nothing other than finding a solution by telling a meaningful story. 

In conclusion, and looking forward, the spirits industry is one that will be ever-evolving but requires disruption and provocation. In an industry where ‘celebration’ is the north star of brand engagement, we must remember that human beings celebrate differently, and there is always room to stand out from the pack by bespoke relatability.

forceMAJEURE Design is a New York-based, award-winning creative agency with 25 years of experience in strategy, branding, design, and communication in the spirits and wine, beauty, and luxury industries. We will not share a long deja-vu agency manifesto. There is enough marketing in the world. We believe what brands need is quite simple, yet too often underrated: sharpness, style, and modernity.

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Author: Graphis