Alcohol was highly tolerated for a long time in Russia because it was considered a source of income for the country’s resilient inhabitants. Sadly, these actions led to Russia becoming synonymous to alcohol consumption. Despite some massive campaigns that tried to discourage the drinking habit, today things don’t look so bright for the ex-communist nation. Alcohol consumption in Russia is among the highest in the world, and a WHO report from 2014 shows that annual consumption per capita was about 22.3 liters of pure alcohol.

Even tough anti-drinking action taken by Russia’s former president Dmitry Medvedev didn’t bring about the best results. But what can be done in a country where vodka is considered to be the national drink and people still avoid listening to the same old lessons about responsible drinking? Because typical anti-drinking campaigns didn’t have much success, and since ironically alcohol managed to conquer Russians, there is no better way to promote responsible drinking than with booze itself.

Don’t Reach the Bottom | Click to enlarge

This inspired Russia’s largest wine importer and distributor, Simple Wine, to work along with Y&R Russia, and to identify a good method that brings to the forefront the unpleasant repercussions of alcohol consumption.

Don’t Reach the Bottom | Click to enlarge

A strong collaboration between the distributor and the advertising agency gave birth to an amazing product campaign. Identified as “Don’t Reach the Bottom,” the initiative has an unusual signature: the importer succeeded in communicating a really powerful message in a very peculiar and mysterious manner, using the canvas offered by an empty bottle of wine.

Don’t Reach the Bottom | Click to enlarge

It looks like mystery is a key ingredient in the advertising world, this idea standing behind the launch of the South American beer Abraxas — a Backus SABMiller premium beverage. The brewing company invited the consumers to discover the high-quality beer by themselves through an interactive print, using their phone’s flashlight to uncover a hidden message.

Not as enigmatic as the Peruvian beer, yet the agency’s mystery also involves invisible images. Only this time they point out consequences of excessive drinking, which are printed on the bottle, and can only be visible once the wine vessel gradually becomes empty. As the bottle content is progressively decanted, different scenarios of irresponsible drinking are displayed to the consumers: if the images presented at the bottle’s top describe moments of joy, then the bottom of the glass culminates with a tragic scenario.

Only 1,000 bottles of wine were created and delivered to the most popular wine stores in Russia’s capital city. While everyone is aware the dramatic consequences of alcohol consumption, the #dontreachthebottom project can be seen as an effort to promote responsible alcohol drinking in a country where this unhealthy habit is “deeply rooted in national culture.”

This initiative features a short video which urges consumers to understand that they “do not need to reach the bottom of their lives when trying to reach the bottom of the bottle.” Would you look forward to finishing such a bottle?


Campaign: Don’t Reach the Bottom

Client: Simple Wine

Agency: Y & R Russia