How Campari Turned a Gin Brand Into Fashion’s Favorite Spirit

How Campari Turned a Gin Brand Into Fashion’s Favorite Spirit


When former JP Morgan investment banker Anshuman Vohra launched his gin brand in 2007 in the U.S., the American scene was still processing and very much attuned to the cosmos the four female characters in “Sex & The City” would usually drink.

Inspired by his father’s penchant for a gin and tonic cocktail, the Indian-born entrepreneur introduced a London dry gin with a complex yet smooth taste, with juniper notes tempered by citrusy and spicy accents for a total of 12 botanicals sourced from across the globe.

His original ambition was to reinvigorate the category and stand out from the crowd of competitors with a lifestyle proposition.

To be sure, much like in fashion, spirit trends come and go and as the Aughts wrapped up, gin was having a resurgence over vodka, once deemed the cool spirit for those in the know. Gin’s complexity seemed to better cater to the growing audience of drinkers looking for an all-round sensory experience.

By the mid-2010s, Bulldog had made its way to Europe and especially Spain and the U.K. and started distribution in around 55 countries soon thereafter. But it wasn’t until 2017 that the brand would begin to gain the fashion status it has today.

That year the Italian Campari Group, owner of such signature spirits as the namesake Campari and Aperol, both used for the aperitivo-intended spritz cocktail, acquired Bulldog from its owner with ambitions to further grow it globally.

The acquisition marked the first foray into the premium gin segment for the group, which had grown into a multibillion-dollar company since its foundation in 1860. The Campari Group owns portfolio of spirits that includes other gin brands such as Bickens in the upper mainstream and O’ndina in the niche super-premium segments. It is also the owner of Espolon tequila and Skyy vodka.

To expand the gin inspired by New York’s bustling and glamorous city life, referenced in Buldog’s sleek, all-black chunky bottle, Campari developed g-local strategies, focusing on trendsetters and social achievers.

Guests at a Bulldog-powered event.

Davide Dusnasco/Courtesy of Campari Group

“Bulldog’s vision is simple and clear, becoming the symbol of bold expression for cool night life,” says Clarice Pinto, senior marketing director for the Italian market at Bulldog.

“Within the context of booming gin [sales] in Italy, where most of the players are focusing their communication on product credentials and botanicals, we decided to position Bulldog as a lifestyle gin brand, starting to build a link with emerging fashion [brands and initiatives] as a neighboring territory,” she explains.

It should come as no surprise then that as part of a strong marketing push, Bulldog gin has become a go-to for fashion parties, especially within the Milan scene.

“In 2021, we started seeding within this territory, overseeing fashion cultural moments…creating valuable collabs with emerging [or established]brands generating hype and social buzz,” Pinto says.

In 2022 alone, Bulldog was the main partner and sponsor of the 10th anniversary party for Marcelo Burlon’s County of Milan brand, as well as for JW Anderson, Sunnei and Dsquared2, among others.

It also dipped its toes into charitable fashion events, such as the AIDS and HIV fundraiser Convivio and the Black Carpet Awards held last February to champion underrepresented Black, Indigenous and people of color talents.

“There is a different strategy for each of the countries where the spirit is distributed and Italy, which is growing at a fast pace, was the natural fit for a fashion-leaning approach,” Pinto explains.

A Bulldog-powered event in Milan.

A Bulldog-powered event in Milan.

Courtesy of Campari Group

G-local activations are anchored to the global brand image campaign, which is titled “Begin Bold” and centers on empowering young people to chart their own path, breaking free of conventions.

“We’re aiming to target spirit enthusiasts who we define as ‘social achievers,’ those in the know and up to date on new trends…who have a strong interest in premium and iconic brands…are keen to living their life to the fullest, naturally curious and self-confident,” Pinto says.

“We are trying to meet their interests, convinced that this would also cater to their followers,” she explains.

In 2021, Bulldog jumpstarted its Bold Nights events, which gather crowds of talents, influencers and nightlife enthusiasts in immersive spaces. The most recent iteration was held Friday at Milan’s East End Studios. It will be followed by similar activations in Rome and Naples.





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