The company said Smirnoff and the vodka category “got lazy” and “made mistakes” by flooding the market with flavours.
Matt Bruhn, global brand director Smirnoff, said: “Adding 42 flavours all of which are almost the same was a bad decision, taking price year on year as our competition enter and took price down left us open to attack. We stop bringing on new consumers, stop challenging the market and offering new experiences for new occasions.
“Vodka followed our lead, more flavours, more copy cat brands, less true innovation and allowed other products to take the lead.”
Looking to the future, Bruhn said: “We need to re-imagine the brand not as a ‘tired’ leader, but as a true challenger. It’s not enough to have the best ad campaign, we must have the best products that meet their ever changing needs.
“Millennials are now the key consumer demographic and we must create better access for them in many ways. Millennials are commercial pragmatists. They accept the reality of the commercial world and force brands to deliver for them.”