Russian Standard is to be the subject of a major promotional push on its recent launch in the UK.

First Drinks Brands, the vodka company's UK distributor, said yesterday (1 October) that it will pump GBP5m (US$10.2m) into a promotional campaign for the vodka in the country in the run-up to Christmas. The three Russian Standard brands - Original, Platinum and Imperia -launched in the UK last month, and will be backed by a national advertising campaign that will include television advertising, print ads in magazines and PR and point-of-sale promotions across the rest of 2007.

"Our ultimate goal is to be the number one in the premium vodka market within five years," Chris Mason, First Drinks' MD told just-drinks yesterday. To emphasise the brand's premium offering, Mason said it will not be offered at discount in the UK on-trade. "There's always going to be someone cheaper," he said.

"We need to promote competitively," Mason continued. "People are looking for authentic and premium (products) - they're willing to pay a little more for the real thing."

Russian Standard Original will retail at around GBP11.99 per 70cl bottle, with Platinum and Imperia being available for GBP14.49 and GBP29.99 respectively.

"We're hoping that, through communication and education, we can get across to the consumer the idea that 'standard' refers to the minimum standard vodkas have to reach," Mason said when asked about the brand's name.