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Bombay Sapphire Aspires to Inspire

Bombay Sapphire is using a new online presence to bond with lounge-frequenting British gin drinkers in their 20s and 30s.

The effort, anchored by an editorial-rich, luxurious site at bombaysapphire.co.uk, also aims to increase awareness for Britain's No. 2 premium gin brand after Gordon's.

“The whole purpose of the site is to become a point online to get premium content for this aspirational lifestyle,” said Helen Wallace, digital art director at Bombay Sapphire agency Draft London. “So the experience we wanted to give online was the same you get when you read a luxury magazine. It's all about being associated with the right audience and a premium lifestyle.”

Consumers who register their profile on the site — name, age, address and other data — gain access to articles and information on design, travel and fashion in the lifestyle section. Bombaysapphire.co.uk items are sourced from the British edition of Condé Nast Traveler, Wallpaper and posh department store Harvey Nichols.

Another section, called Passion, keeps site visitors current on where to drink, dine and stay. They can read about newsmakers, too. Each month, a special Inspired cocktail recipe is featured, created by Bombay Sapphire mixologists.

And in the third section, named Inspired, the affiliated Bombay Sapphire Foundation is the hub for news on the 3-year-old $36,000 Bombay Sapphire Prize, a yearly international award for glass design.

Like Sweden's Absolut Vodka, another spirits brand in an iconic bottle, Bombay Sapphire is recognized worldwide for its ice blue glass bottle design. And like Absolut, it supports artists, designers and architects.

Foundation members include designers Ron Arad, Tom Dixon, Nicole Farhi, Thomas Heatherwick, Lesley Jackson, Dan Klein and Nadia Swarovski. Entries come from the fields of architecture, design and visual and applied art. Each entry must use glass as part of the design. It should have been created within the past two years.

This year's winner will be announced at an awards ceremony Oct. 20 at the 20th Century Theatre in London. The designs will be shown across Britain this year and next.

Draft London's ads will call attention to these events. The site it created for Bombay Sapphire also lets visitors register for tickets to the events. E-mail and mail updates also will be sent.

“Essentially, it brings the relationship between brand and consumer and its association with glass design much closer,” said Jeremy Brook, account supervisor at Draft London.

Bombay Sapphire, owned by Southampton, England-based Bacardi-Martini Ltd., does not disclose the size of its database. The new site has been live since the end of September. Next year, the liquor brand will run an online and offline direct marketing campaign to reactivate lapsed customers in its database.

But for now, Draft London is proceeding with its online effort to push Bombay Sapphire's market share from its status below 10 percent. Gordon's is said to be in the high 40s.

“What we're looking to do is build up a network of brand ambassadors for Bombay Sapphire, and we do believe that the Web site and events will help us to develop a rapport with the kind of people we feel can fulfill that role,” said Merle Busch, digital account director at Draft London.

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