Cans & bottles / Vertical Markets / Latest Headlines / Spirits

Affinnova reveals bottle design trumps taste in vodka brand war

Study shows package design plays vital role in consumer perception and shelf impact

September 5, 2013

Affinnova, Inc. (, a global marketing technology company that dramatically improves innovation and marketing success rates, today released its first Package Design Audit, illustrating the importance of package design, specifically in the vodka industry. Results showed that up and coming brands Belvedere and Pinnacle are leveraging bold and unique package designs to gain market share, while attracting more consumer attention than older brands Smirnoff and Stolichnaya.

"Design remains one of the most underleveraged assets a company has in launching and maintaining a successful brand,” says Waleed Al-Atraqchi, president and CEO of Affinnova. “As advertising becomes increasingly fragmented and has less impact on consumers, packaging must work harder to build brand equity and drive purchases. Advanced marketers need to monitor how package design is impacting shelf presence and consumer perception and respond accordingly, much in the same way they actively measure and adjust other aspects of their marketing performance.”

Affinnova obtained the results through its unique Design Audit technology, which measures package design impact on consumer perception across a wide range of product categories. For the vodka industry, the audit found that:

  • Newer brands are winning on shelf: With unique bottle designs, including bold elements and colors, younger brands like Svedka and Pinnacle are most effective at grabbing and holding consumer attention on shelf, dramatically outperforming the industry average. By contrast Smirnoff and Stolichmaya – brands with decades of brand equity – are more likely to be overlooked by consumers on shelf.
  • Stale packaging can lead to brand erosion: A poorly perceived package can quickly undermine the millions spent on advertising to build a unique brand personality. While consumers perceive Absolut’s brand as “sexy, sophisticated and modern,” the current bottle design actually erodes its brand equity in these areas. By contrast, Belvedere’s bottle design elevates its brand equity significantly in all but one of 11 key vodka personality traits.
  • Gen X’ers and Boomers don’t see eye-to-eye with Millennials: To maintain competitive share, vodka brands must consider changing demographics and adjust accordingly. As an example, Absolut’s bottle design is succeeding in positioning the brand as “fun, friendly and approachable” among consumers 35 and older. However, it’s less effective with 21-34 millennial drinkers, who perceive Smirnoff as leading in those categories. It appears Absolut is well positioned for growth with older drinkers, while Smirnoff is attracting a younger base.

“While established brands are spending millions on marketing and advertising, more nimble competitors are using innovative packaging to quickly grab market share,” says Blake Howard, vice president of Design Solutions at Affinnova. “Our audit shows that established vodka brands should seize the opportunity to refine their packaging to counter new competitors in this high-growth, competitive category. They can no longer rely solely on their marketing mix or even existing brand equity to do all the heavy lifting.”

This audit is the first in a quarterly series from Affinnova. To view extensive results on all 12 vodka brands included in this audit, visit:

Read more in the infographic below. (Click to view a larger version).


vodka infographic

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food and Beverage Packaging

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

2014 Beverage Breakthroughs of the Year

Beverage packaging innovations huff, puff and blow traditional packaging down.
9/30/14 2:00 am EDT

Achieving High Speeds and Maximizing Productivity on Your Packaging Line

Increase efficiency and reduce costs by deploying high speed robotic picking on your line today.  BPA Delta style robots coupled with Cognex Vision Systems provide the fastest platform for pick and place applications.  BPA Delta Style robots are faster and reduce more human touch points than other available methods.  By utilizing a Cognex Vision System you increase quality and efficiency while reducing mechanical fixturing and labor hour costs.  BPA Delta Style Robots with Cognex Vision Systems quickly, accurately and efficiently load random oriented product into containers, wrappers or hffs machines all “on the fly” without stopping or indexing production, this leads to higher Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Food and Beverage Packaging

FBP September 2014 cover

2014 September

Check out the September 2014 issue of Food & Beverage Packaging, with features on flexible packaging, robots in packaging, and much more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Dairy Packaging

What dairy foods packaging trends do you see being the most popular in coming years?
View Results Poll Archive

The Food and Beverage Packaging Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\FBP\modified-atmosphere.gif
Modified Atmosphere and Active Packaging Technologies

Many factors are relevant in making the proper choice of food packaging material, including those related to shelf life and biodegradability.

More Products

FBP Buyer's Guide

2013 FBP Buyers Guide



Food and Beverage Packaging's Buyer's Guide provides a list of suppliers of food and beverage packaging solutions. 

Clear Seas Research

CS-OflRGBhomepage.jpgWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


 Facebook iconTwitter iconYoutube icon LinkedIn icong+icon