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Making a splash in vodka drinks

Splash Vodka is the latest natural and locally made alcoholic beverage to hit the market in Australia. And with a familiar face behind the brand, it’s already garnering some attention. Australian actress Olympia Valance, known for her roles in Neighbours, Playing To Win and Underbelly, is a co-owner of the company.

Co-founder Jeff Gobbels chatted to Inside FMCG about the liquor business and the importance of having a healthier alternative to sugary RTDs in the market.

“Being passionate about creating a healthier alternative to all the sugary drinks on the market, I created a sugar-free fruit-infused water range (Fi water) over three years ago and always had the idea for a sugar-free vodka mixer which didn’t skimp on taste – so along with Olympia Valance, we have created Splash Vodka,” he shared in an interview.

Gobbels said that they are both conscious of what they eat so creating a “sugar-free, all natural, preservative-free vodka mixer range” is ideal.

Inside FMCG: The product is very clearly marketed at women. Can you tell me a bit about the thinking behind that?

JG: Having Olympia Valance as a co-founder meant it was an easy choice to use her as the face of Splash Vodka although we really do think both men and women will love the drink. I mean I’m a guy and I love it along with my mates. It’s super sessionable and great for anyone wanting to avoid sugar!    

Inside FMCG: Any learnings from bringing a new product to market?

JG: It was important learning from the mistakes I’d made with Fi water and there were plenty of them! The most important thing with any new product is brand awareness. People won’t try your product if they do not know it exists. We just want to get it into as many peoples’ hands – I mean mouths – as possible because once they taste Splash we are confident they will want to have it again.   

Inside FMCG: The hard seltzer market has blown up in the US, do you expect to see a similar response here?

JG: Trends usually start overseas. You look at coconut water a few years ago and now the seltzers in the States, they eventually find their way here. In saying that, us Aussies have been drinking vodka, lime, sodas and vodka mixers from when bars first opened, so all we’ve done is put that in a can and made it as healthy and clean as possible which is ready to drink.  

Inside FMCG: Can you explain a bit about how you are connecting with consumers through this launch, under the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in.

JG: The traditional way of launching an alcoholic beverage obviously isn’t possible in the current climate with having a launch event or activation so we took to socials, showing people what our drink is about. We are also running a “gift your friend” to give people the opportunity to send a 4-pack for free to a friend in ISO need. This has been received so well!

We are extremely lucky to be living in the age of social media for a business like ours – the days are gone where you have to pay 100k to have a billboard on the Monash freeway. You can advertise any business no matter how big or small through social media which is brilliant. We take great pride with being engaged with our customers and we always respond to people’s questions whether that be on Instagram, Facebook or emails. 

Interview by Ruth Hogan and Remedios Lucio

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