Smirnoff rolls out first global campaign in 25 years with 'Infamous since 1864' epic

Ad traces Smirnoff's globetrotting journey over past century-and-a-half.

Diageo is launching what it says is Smirnoff's first global campaign in 25 years – a 60-second thriller-style epic charting the vodka brand's 155-year shady history.

Created by 72andSunny New York, the campaign traces the heritage of Smirnoff from its Russian roots to its ubiquity in 130 countries around the world.

Breaking this week in Europe, the "Secret story of Smirnoff" TV spot opens with a distillery being raided by Russian authorities in the 1860s. Our hero escapes by leaping on to a steam train.

The next scene is dubbed "Hidden in America" and takes place during 1920s Prohibition. Again, authorities are making a raid but are fooled by our hero, a grinning, literal bootlegger who removes a bottle from his prosthetic limb.

Bottles of Smirnoff are then "Exiled to France", where a sprinting woman is chased by police before leaping on to a plane hurtling along a desert runway, before making other surreptitious appearances, such as in Hollywood and in a prison. The endline reads: "Infamous since 1864."

The action is punctuated with tense stabs of piano and a rearrangement of hip-hop track Shimmy Shimmy Ya.

Following this week's European debut, the ad will roll out across Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Kenya and the US. Activity will span broadcast, out-of-home, digital, social and print.

The work was directed by Rupert Sanders through MJZ.

Neil Shah, Smirnoff's global marketing director, said: "We're delighted to share the far-from-ordinary story of Smirnoff and what it took to become the world's number-one vodka brand. This will be the first truly global campaign on the brand in more than 25 years and will launch with significant media investment in markets including North America, Europe, Latin America and Africa."

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