Kamasutra, a 50-proof vodka infused with ginseng, ginger and exotic herbs, debuted in the U.S. last month launching in New Jersey. Kamasutra will officially arrive in New York City Thursday.
In a unique relationship, Bonfun Wine LLC is Kamasutra’s sole U.S. importer and authorized brand representative, and Agency|51 Advertising – the firm that developed the brand’s aggressive launch campaign – has an equity position in Bonfun LLC.
Scott Muscarella, vice president of Agency|51, told DailyVista that the shop also assists with the marketing for Bonfun Wine, a completely separate company. From that relationship, Agency|51 got involved with Germany-based Kamasutra because it needed organizations that could handle logistics, distribution, marketing and advertising in the U.S.
“It’s a very interesting relationship compared to the traditional pay per hire agency setup,” Muscarella stated. “We take great pride of ownership in what we’re doing with Bonfun and for Kamasutra. We’ve fundamentally taken a front seat and feel great about the investment in both brands. There’s a lot of upside. I don’t think the brands would be nearly as far along because they would’ve had to launch with a single designer, copywriter, etc. That scenario doesn’t have the same brand development cohesion as our agency team provides. When you’re trying to compete with other high dollar brands, what’s in the bottle isn’t always the determining factor. What the bottle, image and collateral looks like, and how it emotionally connects with the audience, can make the greatest impact.”
Muscarella said Kamasutra tastes great and its unique bottle (pictured left) certainly makes it stand out on the shelf. As Kamasutra attracts more drinkers, it wants to be associated with fun in the same vein as Jägermeister.
“Because of Kamasutra’s unique ingredients, we don’t want to be lumped in with other classes of alcohol,” he added. “We want to be associated with all things seductive, fun and exciting. This is what you drink when you want to unwind and enjoy pleasurable experiences with friends and companions. We want to get into that space. How we’re able to pair up with other mixes will play a big role in our image, as well as immersing into the club scene.
” Therefore, the brand will skew a little younger than Bonfun’s cognac-infused wine. The sultry female-figure bottle immediately appeals to both men and women, and Muscarella added that Kamasutra’s taste and lower proof are especially attractive to women.
“The bottle created a push and pull for reaching men and women, but being 25 percent by volume means that it’s not like pouring a shot of vodka,” he expressed. “Higher proofs aren’t as fun to drink straight, but Kamasutra is easy to enjoy on the rocks and it also works very well from a mixology standpoint.
Kamasutra’s aggressive launch campaign is focused on driving sales, increasing awareness at the retail level to get on the shelf, and supporting in-store tastings to engage consumers. Specific channels include direct mail, point-of-purchase displays, social media and in-store incentives.
Kamasutra’s expansion into New York and New York City will determine next steps, but the brand is currently focusing these efforts off-premises at the retail level. The company expects to do more at the club, bar and event levels after its New York launch.
“It’s really more sales operations and sales support versus pure marketing,” Muscarella stated. “It falls under marketing, of course, but it’s all about the sales side right now. We’re not focusing on price point, just on awareness at point-of-purchase. We’re finding that to be very effective. Traditionally, brands will focus more on price initially but we’re just trying to drive awareness right now.”
He expressed that Kamasutra U.S. inherited a brand that didn’t have a great visual identity, so Agency|51 launched a refreshingly sensual new look and feel, including an initial Facebook page and landing page. The goal was to create a brand that balances fun and sexiness without going too far, Kamasutra created the female-figure bottle and Agency 51 developed “The Natural Spirit of Seduction” tagline. Muscarella provided more insight into the channels Kamasutra currently uses: Direct Mail/POP
Kamasutra’s direct mail is focused on promoting the brand’s mix of fun and sexiness to retailers. “If we can get to the right person at the retail location, we can sell the spirit very quickly,” Muscarella expressed. “Retailers see how unique it is and that we have great support collateral and incentives in place when they purchase a certain number of cases.”
For example, if a retailer purchases a large enough order, Lady Kama models and a brand ambassador will conduct in-store tastings. Kamasutra conducts about four-to-five, two-hour tastings on Fridays and Saturdays in New Jersey. Online, Digital & Social Media
Kamasutra is engaging fans through Facebook and its new website will launch in November. The company also utilizes Club Kama, a loyalty program where fans receive benefits via e-mail and/or text from Lady Kama. Club Kama will play an increasing important role as Kamasutra increases distribution and its club and bar footprint. For example, the brand can create event, site launch and product launch-specific landing pages to collect specific data points, Muscarella said.
Our source added that Kamasutra could include QR codes on collateral, but he’s found that people respond better to text. Kamasutra is focused on expanding distribution and sales, so forming strategic partnerships is a bit premature right now. Down the road, Muscarella said Kamasutra plans to give up an equity stake to an ideal celebrity spokesperson. In fact, a percentage of equity is already set aside for a celebrity endorser in the company’s business plan.
“For example, if Lady Gaga noticed that the seductive appeal of Kamasutra complemented her philosophy and desires, it would make my life substantially easier,” Muscarella stated. “Adding a major celebrity would dilute equity for everyone involved, but the potential for success would go up substantially. The thought of uniting Lady Gaga and Lady Kama would allow us to get right in front of millions of Facebook followers with just one post. Celebrity endorsements don’t require millions in media buying anymore.”
Looking forward, Kamasutra will increasingly expand into bar and clubs settings as it enters New York and New York City. Muscarella said Kamasutra hasn’t entered these settings yet because it didn’t want to move to fast and set itself up for failure With the right pieces in place now, the brand has a lot of fun ideas for the club setting that he couldn’t share, though the nature of the brand lends itself to the fun, nightlife scene. Muscarella did share that Kamasutra had an event partnership in the works with a New York bar and JetBlue that included a free flight giveaway to Jamaica. As Kamasutra expands distribution and raises incremental capital it will eventually conduct more marketing and brand awareness related initiatives. This could include TV, outdoor and targeted print buys.