Why Smirnoff’s Latest Event Was More Than Sequins, Sparkle, and Spectacle
Discover how the brand is fuelling social connections with its London showcase and other global activity.
In an effort to eliminate loneliness and reignite social connections, Smirnoff has launched the second phase of its new We Do We global campaign, seeing the brand find ways to unite more people. While its Brazil activity will focus on dance and in the US, the medium of sport, the UK’s portion will hone in on accessibility for those in the Disabled community.
Kickstarting its activity, Smirnoff hosted the first event in its series in central London. Enlisting a diverse mix of talent for the showcase – including Drag Syndrome, DJ Lou Bru and Spice Girl’s very own Melanie C – the brand hosted a night that brought show-stopping music and dazzling performances to its incredibly diverse audience. The main focal point, however, was for the event to be as accessible as possible for as many of those attending, an all-too-uncommon offering in the nightlife scene.
Reflecting on the production process, Tilting The Lens founder Sinead Burke said, “We encouraged wider teams to think about what accessibility means, and accessibility is so broad. As a society accessibility is often rooted in education, health care, and employment, which are three very important pillars, but the reality is that Disabled people want to have fun too.” She added, “If you were to imagine your favorite night out, for many Disabled people, the things that characterize a night out are often symbols of inaccessibility. We tried to challenge this mindset to look at one night as a case study for how every night can and should be.” As a result, Burke believes social interactions and engagement will be on the rise, concluding that “a more accessible world will benefit everyone.”
In a similar sentiment, the evening’s co-host Fats Timbo explained, “This event means a lot because, in a typical setting, having our needs catered to often feels like a burden.” The Smirnoff event was also a chance for her to present on the big stage, mentioning how more platforms are needed for Disabled people to share their talent. “When I first started out I was nervous to host but I knew I could be one of the first little people to do it. I want to be a role model for other people and build awareness of my condition so accepting roles like these are important.”
The night started with a bang seeing crowds work their way from the photo wall to the main stage and stopping off at the cocktail bar on the way. Additional features such as ramps, Braille menus and a quiet room came together to bring ease of navigating the space for Disabled guests. Opening the show was British singer Kamille, followed up with drag queen Jonbers Blonde. After a string of acts, the event closed with a highly-anticipated DJ set from Melanie C who spun pop classics and her own noughties hits.
As the event wound down, Drag Syndrome took a moment to sit down with Hypebae to share a few final thoughts. “My drag persona knows what she wants and does what she wants, I do drag when I feel like it and I’m here to celebrate that,” says Lady Mercury. “I know people have different opinions and values but we are needed today to change the narrative. After all, Down syndrome isn’t sad, it’s a happy thing.” Along with their fellow dancers, singers and speakers, Drag Syndrome hopes to be one part of the change that sees nightlife become more inclusive and diverse around the world. Striving to make this a reality, Smirnoff joins Tilting The Lens and Stonegate to make socializing in the UK more accessible for the Disabled community, becoming a template for other organizations to adopt and consider more in the future.
Beyond Brazil, the US and the UK, Smirnoff is reigniting social connections in more than 20 countries around the world. In Ireland, Smirnoff is fueling social connections through a partnership with Ireland’s biggest dance venue, SILO, whilst in Australia, the vodka brand is bringing people together through innovative genre-bending music.
To find out about what Smirnoff is doing near you as part of its We Do We global initiative, stay tuned to the brand’s social channels.