Once Cerebral, Effen Aims Lower (and Scores)

The first time I heard of Effen Vodka was five or more years ago. The creative director of a large design firm invited me to dinner at a trendy SoHo restaurant, and he ordered an “Effen martini” when we sat down. 

The correct response would have been to acknowledge his uber-hipness. Instead, I blew tap water out of my nose. (And the evening went downhill from there.)

Effen never really took off in the hyper-competitive premium vodka space. But its new owners—Beam Global Spirits & Wine—are out to change that with an ad campaign (see above) that plays of the brand’s quirky name, rather than slugging it out as yet another European “designer” vodka.

The idea is equal parts simple and sophomoric, which is exactly why it will work. And the photos—by Altoids’ superstar Tony D’Orio—communicate the joke with a sly wink, rather than a dirty laugh.

You can click here to see Effen’s entire “provocatively premium” campaign, including pun-ishingly predictable bellhop and ski bunny ads. To paraphrase Joe Biden, this could be a really big Effen deal.