In March of 1999, Jim Beam Brands Co. selected Dome Communications to help introduce VOX, its imported, ultra-premium vodka.  Jim Beam had already launched the product nationally, with an emphasis on its three largest target markets – New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Moving forward, Jim Beam Brands asked and implemented Dome to develop a marketing communications program within a $220,000 budget. Dome’s unique approach was to develop a grassroots program using word-of-mouth as a primary means of driving product awareness and trial.  Generating media coverage was a secondary objective.
Dome’s challenge was to create a “buzz” and brand preference among consumers in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, with an emphasis on getting VOX into the hands of the “right people, in the right place, at the right time.”
Dome’s created the VOXnet -- a grassroots network of event planners, concierges, bartenders, restaurateurs and talent and modeling agencies that could plug VOX into the elite social scenes of each city.  Through the VOXnet, Dome created a proactive network of thought-leaders who offered insight on how to reach and motivate VOX’s target consumer. 
To begin building the VOXnet, Dome researched key associations including: International Special Event Society (ISES), the Hotel/Concierge Association, as well as various talent agencies, bartenders, caterers and restaurateurs allowing Dome to create a base list of key contacts in each market. After laying the groundwork, Dome contacted hundreds of people, gaining insight into the social scenes of each market, uncovering “hip” high-profile venues and events where VOX could be featured.
Once the VOXnet was established, Dome began to systematically introduce VOX into its key markets using a three-pronged approach.
Stage One—Kick-off Events: With the help of the VOXnet, Dome identified one “hot” club or bar in each city to host a VOX kick-off party.  The exclusive kick-off event served as the official introduction of VOX in each market. To ensure attendance, VOX ambassadors (one male and female model) visited local high-profile boutiques and salons prior to the kick-off event to personally invite the employees.  Invitations were left behind for distribution among their clientele.
Stage Two—“Sightings”:  To continue the excitement surrounding the kick-off event and build the “buzz”, Dome immediately followed-up by coordinating a series of spontaneous, on-premise events at a variety of carefully selected local clubs and bars.  These VOX “Sightings” occurred over the course of two weekends in each market and helped to educate patrons about VOX’s unique attributes.
Stage Three—Opportunistic Sampling Events: To maintain momentum and build the brand, Dome used the VOXnet to identify high-profile parties, including movie premieres, theatre openings, political functions, and fundraising events, where VOX could be exclusively served. 
To effectively communicate the brand essence of VOX before, during and after each event, Dome designed and created a series of highly branded collateral materials to maximize product exposure at each stage mentioned above.  These branded materials were used to maximize VOX’s presence at each event stage.
Kick-off Events: (In all three markets)
1,000 customized invitations; 300 direct emails; two 4-ft. ice sculptures; two hired models to greet guests at front door in VOX dresses; 50-75 VOX bottles displayed on back bar, 15-30 magnum bottles; recipe cards framed and placed on back bar; centerpieces arranged with VOX martini glasses, shakers and candles; photographer; videographer (New York only); VOX logos projected onto walls (New York only).
“Sighting” Events:
To maximize VOX’s on-site presence, VOX ambassadors visited carefully selected venues, where they purchased and served VOX specialty martinis for patrons and casually described the virtues of VOX Vodka. VOX ambassadors also conducted a promotional contest, inviting patrons to select a VOX-branded playing card from a deck with the opportunity to win exclusive “impossible-to-get” concert tickets or gift certificates that “only VOX could provide.”   In an attempt to secure and pre-promote “Sightings”, Dome conducted a series of radio DJ drops in each city with local, high-profile bartenders “stopping by” stations to mix specialty VOX martini’s for the on-air personalities.  All on-air mentions resulted in increased attendance at the evening’s “sightings.” 
Opportunistic Sampling Events:
Dome evaluated each opportunity based on strict criteria used to ensure that VOX gained the ultimate exposure through on-site signage, branded martini stations, magnum bottles, VOX ice sculptures, mentions in event programs and by sponsoring media.  To solidify the local VOXnet network, Dome passed along the tickets received from the event sponsors to the local contacts in exchange for valuable information.  The following are some events where VOX was exclusively experienced: Betsey Johnson Fashion Show (Chicago), Star Wars ‘Magic of Myth’ Exhibition Premier at the Field Museum (Chicago), Interview Magazine’s premiere party for TIGERLAND (New York), THE PERFECT STORM and THE PATRIOT movie premieres (Los Angeles), Sony/MGM Fall Season Premiere Party (Los Angeles) and The Playboy Jazz Festival (Los Angeles).
The program’s success can be measured through both quantitative and qualitative means. Quantitatively, according to the Jim Beam Brands sales force, the VOXnet program contributed to its 450% sales increase during fiscal year 2000. Qualitatively, the VOXnet program can be measured by its ability to pinpoint and drive trial among VOX’s target consumer in key markets and settings that profoundly communicate and reinforce the brand’s essence.  Through the VOXnet, thousands of “social influencers” have experienced VOX and thousands more will continue to share their experiences. 
VOXnet Results:                      
Total VOXnet members:             1,337
Kick-off/Sightings/Opportunistic Events Results:
  • Total number of Kick-off Events:                                     3
  • Total number of “Sightings”:                            26
  • Total number of Opportunistic Event leads:              72
  • Total number of Opportunistic Events executed:            15
  • Total consumers reached through VOX events:             110,544
  • Total VOX drinks sampled:                     36,728
Although a secondary objective, the VOXnet program generated targeted and timely media hits, which Dome used to generate awareness for on-premise “Sightings” and Opportunistic events. VOX bartenders participated in “live” on-air "tastings" mixing VOX specialty martinis for on-air hosts and promoting the brand’s unique attributes. The following broadcast and print media placements measure the VOXnet’s success: Broadcast: WLS AM 890 (Roe & Gary, Chicago) with an audience of 319,000, KLSX (The Tom Leykis Show-syndicated) with an audience of 8,399,300; Print: Saveur Magazine with readership of 702,000, Bon Appetit Magazine (December 2000 and March 2001 issues) with readership of 3,201,936, and Interview Magazine with readership of 458,565.
2000 VOX Media Impressions:               
  • Broadcast:                                                      8,719,100                                           
  • Print:             5,162,659
  • Electronic:             75,000
  • Total:                                                              13,956,759