The Moodie Davitt Report HQ receives lots of intriguing product samples but one in particular made us paws for thought this Chinese New Year. It was from Tito’s Handmade Vodka and celebrated the Chinese New Year of the Dog.
This wasn’t just some opportunistic brand effort to cash in on the celebratory season. Tito’s has, in fact, become known as the Vodka for Dog People.
Founder Bert ‘Tito’ Beveridge (was there ever a better name for a drinks company founder?) noted the plight of stray dogs at the site of his new distillery when establishing Tito’s Handmade Vodka in 1997. He has since formed close links with numerous animal charities.
So the Year of the Dog carried particular resonance for the fast-growing brand. To celebrate the occasion, Tito’s is presenting its bottles in duty free in red cloth gift bags adorned with a dog drawing.
It’s a lovely touch. But not the only one. For the gift pack received at Moodie Davitt HQ not only contained a bottle clad in its New Year’s finery but also a gleaming new dog bowl and even a Tito’s dog lead.
Now as a journalist, I was taught to always follow a good lead and also to do my consumer research. How would the canine community respond to this American super bowl? Could this GWP unleash a whole new shopper dynamic? And should the Year of the Dog Tito’s Handmade Vodka be sold in PET?
So many questions. But in my life, at least, there was only choice of consumer to answer them – my beloved Golden Labrador, Mickali (full name Mickali Whispering Wind, well-named but let’s not go there, ok?).
Though I decided that I should not test the vodka itself on Mickali (she’s not a spirits drinker, though she’s often had cause to whine), the bowl was just what the dogtor ordered. Now, I don’t serve Mickali any old dog food – she has fresh chicken, ham and salami, washed down with the finest Chez Moodie tap water – so nor should she have any old dog bowl.
As the photos show, she took to the Tito’s bowl with relish (yes, I like to add some garnish to her meals). Talk about a successful Lab test. She didn’t even paws for breath before devouring her dinner with even greater haste than usual.
Has Tito’s potentially struck on a new dynamic in travel retail? You’ve heard of the Pink Pound, could this be the Dog Pound? What a gift for dog owners! A dog bowl, a single paw vodka and a stylish fashion accessory lead all in one. Judging by Mickali’s reaction, Tito’s may have unleashed something big here. I may be barking mad, but sales, I predict, could go through the woof.