Tired of seeing the same vodka commercial on repeat portraying an exclusive and lavish lifestyle that you can’t relate to? Sick of waiting in the cold for hours praying the bouncer will allow you inside a club you can’t afford? Smirnoff Vodka broke away from the crowd and positioned themselves as a vodka for the masses with their new campaign line “Exclusively for Everybody”. This new point of view was brought to life through an experiential platform called the Smirnoff Ultimate House Party.

Link to New Advertising Campaign:

Smirnoff partnered with Spotify and asked consumers to share their favorite party song for a chance to win their very own Ultimate House Party. Once the 4 lucky winners were selected, MKTG INC designed a house party specifically for the winner and threw it in their home town. Several entrants also won a three-month premium Spotify membership, furthering Smirnoff’s dedication to inclusivity – music for everyone. The winner invited attendees through a tactic called “Six Degrees of Smirnoff”. 19 of the winner’s closest friends were invited and asked to invite 6 friends and so on, giving each event the feel of an actual house party.

The event series kicked off in New York for Colorado native Hannah Small with a surprise performance by Kelis. This event was followed by Justin Day’s Ultimate House Party in Dallas and and Meghan Reynold’s in Portland. The final event will take place in Warren, Michigan in October. Events took place in real residences or event spaces transformed to feel like a real house party.

While Smirnoff’s official DJ JayCeeOh spun the summer’s hottest hits, guests enjoyed snacks and Smirnoff cocktails served in mis-matched glassware. The winner’s bedroom was re-created and decorated with pictures and personal items along with posters reflecting their interests or hobbies. Each house was equipped with a game room, bottled cocktail and punch station, large graffiti wall for guests to sign and a movie theater. Smirnoff partnered with Uber and Broadway Cab Company (in Portland) to ensure all guests arrived in style and got home safely.

Remember- For your next house party, grab a bottle of Smirnoff- Everybody’s invited!

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What’s In Your Wallet? with Senior Video Producer Ryan Beickert

Have you looked at your business card recently? If not you should. MKTG INC’s cards are known for their unique perspective and purpose (the latter being expressly to embarrass their bearer, natch). In our new column, we take a look at the business cards of our coworkers and hear the stories behind them.

As artists go, Ryan’s kind of weird.
I think it’s fair to say that the “weirdness” is not exclusively tied to being an artist… I am just odd in general.

He’s that rare breed that can blend high-minded artistry with hunker-down work ethic.
The stereotype of lazy artists needs to be shattered, and I am working tirelessly on breaking that glass ceiling… This is what everyone is referencing when they say “glass ceiling” right?

No matter what he sets his mind to – whether he’s making cleverly crafted, artfully executed videos or baking up a batch of the best damn Irish Soda Bread you’ve ever had in your life -
My family is originally from Waterford, Ireland, and we have a family recipe for Irish Soda Bread that has been passed down for more than 150 years. My mother still has the original recipe that was written in Gaelic in a safe box hidden somewhere in the attic (probably next to my Star Wars figures).

– This guy goes whole hog.
The expression “whole hog” had never entered my vocabulary until after this business card was written; I now use it daily… This is just to prove how “whole hog” I really am.

His recipe for success is simple: one part creative instinct, one part technical know-how, and one part good old-fashioned nose-to-the-grindstone. And the recipe works on film and in bread. 
Although the description here says it is simple, let me be honest with you: it’s not. The Irish Soda Bread recipe is extremely hard, which is why I only make it once a year. The film part is really simple; that stuff you can just shoot on your iPhone.

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Guest Q&A With George Dickel Ambassador Douglas Kragel

George Dickel Ambassador Douglas Kragel  The title “Whisky Ambassador” sounds like a dream job. What’s your background, and how did you find your way to George Dickel?
My Background is in both service and sales. I have worked every position in restaurants and bars since my first job as a dishwasher. Before becoming the National Ambassador for George Dickel I work as a sales representative for a liquor distributor in Baltimore, MD.

You must love whisky. What’s your favorite way to drink it?  What do you drink when you’re not drinking whisky?
There are so many great ways to enjoy whiskey, it’s hard to choose a favorite but currently I have been drinking a good amount of whiskey sours. When I’m not drinking whiskey I’m most likely drinking a cold beer.

American Whisky is really hot right now. Why do you think that is?
I think one of the contributing factors to the rise in the popularity of American whiskey is the rise of craft in the beverage industry. Craft beer has paved the way for consumers looking to quality American products, and Craft cocktails have brought light back to the use of American spirits from the pre-prohibition era.

 Traditionally people think of whisky as a cold-weather spirit. How do you teach people to think differently?
I tell people to drink what they like and don’t subscribe to conventions. What’s better than a cold whiskey sour in the summertime?

What kind of trends are you seeing, either among bartenders or consumers?
I think the biggest trend that I am seeing among bartenders and consumers alike is honesty. Bar programs that are upfront and have a genuine identity, and consumers that aren’t afraid to forgo that list and order what they really want.

In July you participated in Tales of the Cocktail, which is like the Superbowl of the Spirits Industry. Any favorite moments/experiences?
It’s hard to pinpoint any one particular moment at an event as lively as Tales. What I do love the most about that week, is the opportunity to work alongside all of the Diageo Masters of Whiskey, and tap into the vast network that they have built across the country.

Whisky brands have been doing a lot to bring new consumers, including women, into the consideration set. What are you doing with the brand?
Generally, to get new consumers to try your product, you have to make it more accessible. Whiskey can be an intimidating category. For us, it’s all about educating folks on what George Dickel Tennessee Whisky is, and how it differs from other spirits. For instance, our unique charcoal filtration process produces a smooth sipping whiskey that goes down easy.

What’s your favorite meal (or flavor) that people might not think to pair with whisky?
Seafood. I think the rich flavor of say, oysters, can be complimented nicely with the dry nature of rye whiskey, for example.

If you could enjoy a glass of whisky with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Eddie Vedder. For the simple reason that it would give me a chance to spend a little time with an idol, and talking/drinking whiskey to help me feel a bit less nervous.

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Guinness ICC 2014: Soccer, Smirnoff Ice, and Setting Records


With the excitement of a thrilling World Cup still in the air, soccer fans across the US had little time to catch their breath as the largest soccer tournament in America was upon them. For the second year in a row, Guinness was the title sponsor of the International Champions Cup (ICC), a two-week tournament pitting some of the best soccer clubs from around the world against one another right here in the United States. This year, Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid sought to defend their 2013 title against Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, FC Inter, AC Milan, AS Roma and Olympiacos.

The tournament spanned 12 US cities, drawing in over 640,000 passionate fans to the stadiums and exponentially more through live broadcasting on NBC Sports, Fox Sports 1, and Fox Network Television. The ICC made its presence known, appearing several times on ESPN’s Top 10 plays (including Wayne Rooney’s awesome goal in the final match). Most impressive, perhaps, was the Manchester United vs Real Madrid match in Ann Arbor, Michigan where 109,318 fans filled “The Big House,” accounting for the largest crowd to ever watch a professional soccer game in the US. The irony of Guinness setting a record is not lost here.


All ICC stadium events featured a Guinness Beer Garden providing avid fans with cold beer, giveaways & MKTG staff. MKTG also executed 161 events at designated local Fan Hubs across the ICC cities where consumers competed in prop pick contests to win premium Guinness soccer swag and received complimentary beer samples. These events coincided with televised ICC matches and drew even more viewers for the tournament.

MKTG also managed the sampling of portfolio-partner Smirnoff Ice at the Dallas & Miami events. Over 2,400 consumers (21+) sampled Smirnoff Ice Original, Screwdriver and Watermelon Mimosa across these two events. Many had never tasted the brand before but eagerly welcomed the ice cold product on the blistering hot days. Both Guinness and Smirnoff Ice saw impressive sales at the stadiums, hopefully further establishing them as drinks of choice when watching soccer.

In the end, Manchester United faced off against its heated rival Liverpool in front of a roaring crowd of over 50,000 fans in Miami. After a slow start, Wayne Rooney and his Manchester United team rallied an exciting comeback to win 3-1, claiming the 2014 International Champions Cup as their own. Once again, Guinness treated fans to some of the best soccer the world has to offer right in their own backyards. While it may have only been considered a friendly, the passion, records & bragging rights are certainly real.

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London Beats


Every year Beats by Dre welcomes European distributors to London to talk about anything and everything Beats.  The International Distributors Conference gives Beats the chance to engage with their distributors, showcase the latest products and talk best practices. The two-day event is made up of presentations, breakout meetings, hands-on training sessions and an unforgettable Beats by Dre party. Each room was assigned to different Beats departments to cover a full range of topics. MKTG INC then turned existing meeting rooms into themed rooms, each with its own personality and product showcase.



MKTG INC was tasked with creating a consumer journey that flowed from room to room and gave each distributor a new experience throughout the day. Each group of distributors were provided with a Beats Brand Ambassador to offer a concierge-type service to the conference by escorting groups to the meeting rooms, greeting them when they came out and answering any questions they might have throughout the event.

Monday evening was the Beats World Cup Viewing Party at Skyloft in London. Located on the 28th floor of Millbank Tower, distributors and Beats got an opportunity to get away from talking business and relax for a night of food, drinks and football.

From finding the venues to selecting the right staff, from designing the rooms to building out all the spaces, MKTG INC offered a full-service event for Beats and their distributors. Now it is on to Hong Kong for Round 2 of Beats IDC 2014.

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Written by Carter Parrish
Carter Parrish

July 30th, 2014 at 2:41 pm

The All-Star Treatment from Nike

Nike ASG

Fans from all over the country flocked to Minneapolis in mid-July to watch the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Between Yankees legend Derek Jeter’s last appearance and a city with such passion for the sport, the energy was palpable in the Twin Cities.

Nike was right in the middle of the action, spreading their “Future Gets Faster” message through events for young athletes and the launch of the Nike Lunar Vapor Spectrum Collection. Over the course of two days during All-Star Game week, Nike gave Minneapolis-area youth baseball athletes the opportunity to learn, train and compete, and fans of the game got some love as well.

On Monday, July 14 Nike’s Future Gets Faster baseball competition provided all-star treatment to two age groups of 220 elite athletes at Cretin-Derham Hall (Twins star Joe Mauer’s high school). The players tested their speed in running, swinging and fielding – highlighting the importance of speed in the game. Between high school and youth sessions, the young athletes got a surprise visit from Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder all-star Carlos Gomez. At the end of each age group’s session, the athletes competed for a spot in a homerun derby (complete with fireworks, of course). After their competition sessions ended, the athletes checked out the new Nike Lunar Vapor Trout cleat, which they would see on Angels all-star Mike Trout during the All-Star game the following day.

That same day, baseball fans at the Nike Mall of America store reaped the rewards of their scavenger hunting skills with a VIP athlete Q&A experience with St. Louis Cardinals all-star Matt Carpenter. The day before, Carpenter released a tweet with clues for fans to find, photograph and tweet – all clues could be found in Mall of America. Fans who completed the hunt were rewarded with a VIP bracelet to come back to the Nike store the next morning for the Q&A. Carpenter shared his philosophy on work ethic and his appreciation for his teammates.

On Tuesday, All-Star Gameday, 20 elite high school baseball players were invited to a true insider experience to learn what it takes to develop the incredible speed that Mike Trout is known for. At the Train Like Trout event, Nike treated athletes to a full VIP experience with locker set-ups complete with apparel and footwear. After gearing up, Trout’s own personal trainer, Dan Richter, led the athletes through a full workout of speed and strengthening drills. Once the workout was over, a healthy-food truck pulled up, and athletes enjoyed a premium viewing experience for the All-Star Game, as they watched Mike Trout’s American League team kill it.

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Blogs Are Better Than Banner Ads

hj 2Photos courtesy of DustinNikki Mommy of Three, Wannabite,

After working in advertising for the better part of 10 years, I’m still amazed that people click on banner ads. I mean – really – who clicks on those ads for “Hot Singles in Your Area”? Instead of spending money on another media buy with a 1% click-thru, I decided to check out a different form of advertising that is much more subtle … and also more effective.

(First: a disclaimer. In addition to my work at MKTG INC, I’m also a blogger at Blogger marketing is an evolving form of word-of-mouth marketing, and bloggers have a built-in audience that trusts them and seeks out their opinion on products and services.

At MKTG INC, we have partnered with bloggers on a variety of programs, from toilet paper to hair color, to find out what real women think of these products. At Food Hussy, I’ve done campaigns for deli meats, vacation destinations, restaurants and more.

I love that every blogger puts their own spin on a product and can create new uses for your product. Most people think of Dr. Pepper as a drink, but this blogger used it in a recipe. You may not regularly drink Dr. Pepper – but can you honestly say you don’t want to try a Dr. Pepper Donut?

The question is – does it work? The proof is in the pudding. I can’t tell you how many times people have commented that they tried something after I shared it. Recently my husband was at an event I had promoted and someone came up to him and said, “Hey – I know you – you’re the husband of the Food Hussy!” Turns out, they not only recognized him from my blog, but they purchased tickets for the event because of my post.

Bloggers are influencers who have a built-in trust factor and an audience. By working with them, you’re getting an honest opinion on what you have to offer that is then shared with all of their online “friends” – which goes a lot further than a simple banner ad.

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A World Class Event for MKTG INC



At MKTG INC, we pride ourselves on executing world-class events – but this time, the event was actually World Class.

Earlier this summer, the national finals of the USBG World Class Bartender Competition were held in NYC at the Monarch Room’s Gilded Lily, and MKTG INC was there to make sure it went off without a hitch!

The NYC Final was the culmination of the 2014 US World Class program. Presented by the US Bartenders Guild and sponsored by Diageo, 75 top bartenders competed in 5 regional finals in Boston, Los Angeles, Portland, Atlanta and Chicago. The top 3 from each region were chosen to move on to the national finals in NYC for a total of 15 national finalists.

In all stages of the program, nationally and internationally recognized industry luminaries served as judges. The competition challenges tested all aspects of the bartenders’ abilities, from speed and efficiency to presentation, creativity and service, using brands from the Diageo Reserve portfolio.

From the regionals to the finals, MKTG INC worked closely with Diageo, the US Bartenders Guild, Liquid Productions and all the judges and competitors to ensure that the program was executed within World Class standards.

Charles Joly from Chicago was named the World Class US Bartender of the Year and will represent the US in the Global Finals in the UK starting July 27th. He will be competing against bartenders from 49 other countries and the global winner will be named in London on Aug 2nd.

The Diageo World Class competition is considered “the best” in the industry and is in its 6th year globally with 50 countries competing each year. This is the 3rd year that the US has participated, with US winners Ricky Gomez placing 5th globally in 2012 and Jeff Bell placing 2nd globally in 2013.

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Written by Cathy Remmert
Cathy Remmert

July 23rd, 2014 at 10:13 am

All-Star Game Raises a Cap to the Captain

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

This year, the MLB All-Star Game descended on a sparkling new Target Field in the heart of the Twin Cities. Ironically, a game that was supposed to be “twin-centric” ended up being all about one man, of which there is no duplicate: Derek Jeter.

That’s right. There is only one Derek Jeter and in his final Midsummer Classic, the slender 40-year-old shortstop took center stage in the friendly confines of Minnesota. From the very first play (an impressive diving stop) to the last out, DJ owned the moment, just as he has his entire 20-year career.

The American League would go on to win for the second year in a row with the help of rising star and game MVP, Mike Trout, of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Trout, only 22 years old, is part of a young dynamic core that represent baseball’s bright future. Of course, who can forget Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu and 2014 Home Run Derby Champ, Yoenis Cespedes? These three Cuban superstars have stormed onto the international stage with their dynamic defense, powerful throws, towering home runs and glittering earrings. Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, who many believe could be the greatest hitter of the new age, sent a baseball deep into the third deck during the HR Derby, wowing all who saw. Not since Reggie Jackson has one hitter so impressed an All-Star Game crowd.

And so it’s true … a game that was as much about saying goodbye to one man also served as a welcome party for the game’s latest and greatest, all of whom expect to follow in Jeter’s storied footsteps.

Unlike the Olympics, baseball has no torch. No literal fire to bestow to the next generation of stars. Nonetheless, after this, one of the most memorable All-Star Games in recent memory, you can rest assured that the torch has been passed.

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Written by Andrew Canlon
Andrew Canlon

July 22nd, 2014 at 4:38 pm

What’s in Your Wallet?

KK Business Card

Have you looked at your business card recently? If not you should. MKTG INC’s cards are known for their unique perspective and purpose (the latter being expressly to embarrass their bearer, natch). In our new column Business Cards Explained, we take a look at the business cards of our coworkers and hear the stories behind them. Get ready to blush.

Growing up, Katie wanted to play second base for the Cleveland Indians.
True statement. The baseball references throughout the copy come from a previous job working for the Chicago White Sox, but they seem to work with the PR analogies. But as an Indians fan growing up, my favorite thing in the world was watching Robbie Alomar man the infield. Boy, was he great. Luckily, I had the chance to tell that to his face a few years ago.

Unfortunately for her, she didn’t make the cut – but fortunately for us, she’s an All-Star communicator and a five-tool player.
I recall my father – who was also my softball coach for my short-lived career when I was in grade school – saying that I was the worst player he’d ever seen. He denies ever saying it, but I don’t think I could make that stuff up. That’s why I ended up in journalism, and not on an athletic scholarship.

She can pitch, she can deliver a hit and she’s always got her head in the game.
I’m in PR! I can pitch a story, I can deliver coverage and I’m always focused on what’s next.

From the first pitch to the final out, Katie’s always going the distance.
Again with the baseball puns. They used to drive me insane, but now that I’m a little further away from the game I think they’re funny. I can’t stop the fact that I still speak baseball.

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