Smirnoff is looking to promote inclusivity on the bar and club scene, as part of a year-long partnership with publisher LADbible Group.
‘Free to Be’ will see the two brands produce a series of documentaries and videos that attempt to make difficult topics around race, disability, LGBT+ and other issues more accessible.
The first video, ‘Night Shift’, launches today (1 June) and showcases real ‘nightlife heroes’, including a female bouncer, transgender barman and a woman working in a gender-neutral bathroom, as it looks to tackle negative perceptions around gender identity.
“The overall ambition for the partnership is to trigger lots of conversations around the country, ‘lad to lad’, about topics that people might not feel comfortable with or have previously discussed with their friends,” says Smirnoff senior brand manager Nicholas Cornbleet.
“We have a duty to do the right thing. We have huge reach and investment and I think it’s important that we respect the communities that we operate in and make a difference where we can.”
As well as the documentary series, Smirnoff will also be hosting experiential experiences at festivals and other events.
The partnership follows a collaboration between the brand and content creator last December, which resulted in a short documentary called ‘Meet the Village Angels’ about volunteers making nightlife safer for people in the streets of Manchester.
“It had so much more real-world impact than I was expecting,” Cornbleet says. “From that documentary, the LGBT foundation, a big charity partner of ours, got the most sign-ups they’ve ever had for volunteers to join the programme because people had heard about it and seen it on LADbible.”
The charity also saw a man from Northern Ireland donate six months of medical supplies after seeing the video on Facebook.
Cornbleet adds: “The content was successful but importantly also landed tangible outputs such as more donations, volunteers and awareness of the charity. That really brought home to me the impact we can make beyond content.”