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How Martha Stewart and Tito’s Advertised Vodka in Dry January


Creatives at agency Arts & Letters discuss the vodka campaign that shows how to do everything with the spirit - besides drink it, writes LBB’s Ben Conway

How Martha Stewart and Tito’s Advertised Vodka in Dry January

Around the world, Dry January is becoming more popular than ever. For many, it’s the perfect time of year to reflect on your drinking habits and give yourself a bit of a break after the seasonal festivities of November and December - which often encourage over-indulgence in a variety of ways.

But if you’re not drinking this month and you’ve still got that half-empty bottle of Tito’s Handmade Vodka burning a hole in your cupboard and reminding you of your recent excess, there are still plenty of ways to finish it off - without having to break your month of sobriety. As legendary businesswoman and cuisine queen Martha Stewart points out in this recent campaign from Virginia-based creative agency, Arts & Letters, you can use Tito’s for a variety of DIY tasks around the home.

From preserving flowers to cleaning windows and de-icing your windscreen, Martha showcases these alternate uses with a wry smile while she waits for February to come - and bring with it plenty of well-earned martinis. To explore how the agency discovered these hidden uses for Tito’s and how Dry January was an opportunity to use non-standard spirit advertising to stand out from a “sea of sameness” in the alcoholic beverage space, LBB’s Ben Conway spoke with creatives from Arts & Letters, Lillian O’Connor and Brett Simone.

LBB> ‘DIY January’ - how haven’t we heard this before? Where did the initial creative spark for this campaign come from?

Lillian and Brett> The original challenge was to find a way for Tito's to be relevant during Dry January, the one month where a lot of people aren’t thinking about drinking vodka. But when the team did a little research, we realised the DIY community was using Tito's for all kinds of stuff that had nothing to do with cocktails. 

Arts & Letters started working with Tito’s in November of 2021 and soon became the lead brand creative agency, as of last year. So, it’s a relatively new partnership. The brief was to keep Tito’s top of mind during a month when many people are trying not to drink. 

LBB> How early on in the process was ‘DIY January’ coined? Who came up with this?

Lillian and Brett> Very early on we had a small brainstorming session with a few people from the Arts & Letters team. ‘DIY January’ was one of the initial ideas shown to clients. It only took one meeting for ‘DIY January’ to become the front-runner and soon, a catchphrase was born. Who knew one little letter flip could go on to inspire so much?

LBB> Is advertising a spirit in January becoming more difficult as more and more people tend to lay off the booze during this month? Or did you relish the opportunity to get creative and find alternative ways to market Tito’s?

Lillian and Brett> [We] relish it! Creatively, it’s really exciting to get a chance to think about a liquor brand in a way that isn’t standard. Alcohol ads easily become a sea of sameness, so breaking from the norm and exploring ideas for Dry January was refreshing - pun intended. It was a big challenge but we think that is what drove us to the creative solution that we landed on.

LBB> When did Martha Stewart get involved in the process? Why was she the ideal frontwoman for this campaign?

Lillian and Brett> Martha was a no-brainer to be the voice of our campaign at that point - she's the original queen of DIY and relatable enough for all kinds of people to connect to. Everyone listens to Martha. And she loves martinis. 

LBB> What were some of your favourite alternate vodka uses during the creative process? How did you find or come up with these life hacks and DIY tricks?

Lillian and Brett> Watering your flowers with vodka was hands down our favourite. Who would have thought? But Martha confirmed this trick. And you can’t argue with Martha. Some of these hacks came to us through client knowledge, some of them from bloggers and others off of sites about the many uses of vodka.

LBB> Were you on set at all for the production? What was that experience like?

Lillian and Brett> Yes. It was a great day on set. The energy was high and everyone was on time and moved efficiently through all the set-ups. Martha also deserves a lot of credit. She showed up ready to go and riffed a lot of great lines that ended up in the final cut. She even took a celebratory shot of Tito's with the team when we wrapped. (Sort of, she graciously poured it into a vase of flowers instead of turning us down.)

LBB> What was the hardest challenge you faced on this campaign, and how did you overcome it? 

Lillian and Brett> This project was an extremely fast turnaround. It went from script to shoot to edit in just a few weeks. Luckily, the amazing team at Tito’s, led by [head of marketing] Taylor Berry, our director, Gavin Bellour, and all of our production partners made it happen, while being incredibly collaborative the whole way through. We also had a lot of help from Martha's personal stylist to turn an empty Manhattan loft into a cosy, Martha Stewart-inspired space. With the tight timeline, we were all pushed to make tough decisions and keep going to make it happen. We’re happy to see how well it has been received. 


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Arts & Letters Creative Co., Fri, 20 Jan 2023 16:28:00 GMT