How Pulling a ‘Blue Steel’ for Your Brand Could Boost its Luxe Appeal

CirocZoolander-20160118110413263You’ve probably pulled it off at least once. The ‘Blue Steel’ model look made famous by Ben Stiller in the cult 2001 film Zoolander. Blue Steel has become a standalone moniker, like twerking or Marmite. And Cîroc vodka has jumped on a limited edition idea that’s a match made in branding heaven: the Blue Steel Limited Edition Cîroc Vodka. And it’s ready in time for the premiere of Zoolander 2. It is one of the aspirational jet-set, Ibiza loving club crowd’s favourite drinks brands and is famously supported by flash hip hop entrepreneur Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs.

I love it when brands do something different and unexpected, but you’ve also got to admire a brand that knows exactly who its audience is. Cîroc has nailed the brand fit. It unashamedly markets itself to a glam loving crowd, who seek out fashionable bars and place way too much emphasis on their looks. Cîroc wants this audience. It wants Kim Kardashian wannabees (and the real one too) to be sipping Cîroc in the world’s most exclusive VIP bars, whilst clutching their mobile phones, pouting and taking ‘selfies,’ then sharing these experiences on social media.

Cîroc-Blue-Steel-Bottle-and-Cocktail-ShotIt’s refreshing when brands can poke a bit of fun at themselves and don’t take themselves too seriously. Cîroc is absolutely a spirits brand that wants to have fun. It’s still a newbie after all, only launching in 2003, so it doesn’t have any of the heritage that many spirits brands call upon in their more subtle branding and sophisticated packaging design. It’s a brand that’s shouting ‘Come on! Drink me and we can all pretend we holiday on yachts!’

vaseline-creme-brulee-tins-ukWhen limited editions work, they really work. When two brands come together in a limited edition format, they work when they can strengthen each other’s personality. This was true of the Vaseline special edition Crème Brûlée Lip Therapy. For the launch we at Hornall Anderson, partnered up with Selfridges to create a pop-up boutique, complete with Pout Mistress, instructing on perfect pouts, and a photo booth to upload those perky pouts straight to social media. Vaseline is a much loved classic brand, but this worked because the limited edition was a perfectly packaged tantalising taste of crème brûlée and the redesigned pot was one that our target audience wanted on show, either popping out of handbags on the tube or leaving it in view on office desks. It was an easy way to buy into a little bit of luxe.

It also turned out to be the fastest selling product in Selfridges’ history. Bam. This was one of our many limited edition ‘Blue Steel’ moments we’ve pulled off. It doesn’t mean brands need to go wild and break down boundaries to bring out a jaw-dropping limited edition, which would no doubt bring their brand managers out in a nervous sweat, but it goes to show that if you’re thinking of the obvious, just be clever with it and bring some authenticity. And if you can add a sense of irony, savvy millennials will thank you for that as it’s definitely a language they connect with.

The more I think about Cîroc and Blue Steel, the more I’m jealous they got there first. I’d quite like to see a Blue Steel Vaseline. I can see those selfies now and it’s already trending on Twitter. And the Vaseline pot is even blue and white – we already had the colours right. All we would need is some clever packaging tweaks to make some ‘ridiculously good looking’ packaging, Derek Zoolander style.

Photo-of-Kim-van-Elkan-1Article By Kim Van Elkan, Managing Director, Hornall Anderson

About Kim Van Elkan:

As Managing Director of Hornall Anderson UK Kim Van Elkan helps shape the future of a thriving creative business. A passionate people person Kim guides the team to stretch themselves and achieve previously unthinkable results that take them out of their comfort zone culminating in a great sense of personal achievement and pride.

Kim freely shares her 20+ years experience providing a sense of calm in pressurised situations. Trusted by clients to deliver the highest level of creativity, service and delivery through her team of highly motivated and unique individuals. Outside of work Kim is an enthusiastic baker. In fact this is the true secret to her success. Her delicious cakes keep the team happy and clients coming back for more.

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