Monday, October 29, 2007

As the cold weather sets in, life is starting to become a drag for many smokers, but there may be an alternative to braving the great outdoors for a puff: nicotine cocktails.

London bars are now serving nicotine and tobacco in cocktail form, but can you really get your fix in a glass? And what would it taste like?

Shochu Lounge on Charlotte Street, London, serves a Smoked Old Fashioned. It is the least hardcore of all the cocktails and doesn't contain any actual nicotine, but it is made with tobacco, smoke and leather essences to give it a smoky flavour. The cocktail's creator, Tony Conigliaro, says it's pretty popular, selling more than 20 a week. He has also noticed a change in people's habits; now that people can't smoke, they are drinking more.

At Floridita on Wardour Street, London, head barman Richard Woods has thrown smokers a lifeline with the 'All Up In Smoke' section on the cocktail menu. A rum based Tobacco Old Fashioned and the Cigar Lover's Martini, both on the menu before the ban, have been joined by the Nicotini, the Smokey Old Fashioned, and the Smoked Agave Sazerac.

If you tend to binge smoke when you're out, you could run into difficulties. These cocktails pack a punch, an Old Fashioned is basically a glass of pure alcohol and at £12.95 a cocktail, there really is an incentive to wait until the cigarette cravings kick in.

On the menu at Pearl Restaurant and Bar in High Holborn, London, is another version the Nicotini cocktail. This is a dark, sweetish drink, made with rum, Kahlua, lemon juice, sugar syrup, egg whites and garnished with orange peel and rosemary. The nicotine comes from the rum, which has had a Cuban cigar in the bottle for a week. Head barman Gustavo Bertolucci says he came up with the cocktail to keep people inside after the ban. "We wanted to take the nicotine out of the air and put it in a glass."

So we wait with baited (fresh) breath to see whether these cocktails really take off and help smokers quit. Keep an eye open when you're next browsing the cocktail menu of a trendy London bar.

Source: The London Paper, Tuesday 23rd October 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

If you type "smirnoff" into your mobile phone in predictive text format it spells "poisoned".

Pimms have been doing something interesting online things around the central character from their TV advertising - Pimms Harry. There is a website at and there have been various things running on social networks.

There has been the opportunity to befriend Pimms Harry on Facebook and lets you join in with him on Myspace (screen grab below).

Good way to extend TV and radio campaigns and clever way of enhancing brand personality.

I expect to see more of this sort of activity as brands understand more about how social networks can be used creatively in support of advertising.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Given the enormous tide that is building around the issue of Green this and that the Vodka 360 brand is fascinating. The ad says it all really. Should all of our brands be following suit? Should we be putting an eco plan together?

Drink resonsibly...

Drive responsibly...

Exist responsibly.

From Beverage World:

"Going green has become chic with the launch of 360 Vodka, the world’s first eco-friendly super premium spirit brand. Made with the finest American grain to ensure a silky smooth finish and a unique, state-of-the-art production process, 360 Vodka’s distillation process is 200 percent more efficient than the conventional pot still method. The vodka also is packaged in a striking, crystal-like bottle that’s made from 85 percent recycled glass. Through its “360 Close the Loop” campaign, Earth Friendly Distilling, a division of McCormack Distilling Co., will donate $1 to eco-friendly organizations with every bottle cap returned to the distillery."

This is the tip of the iceberg.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

From Inhabitat via AdJoke:

"Upcycling is a 21st century term, coined by Cradle to Cradle authors William McDonough and Michael Braungart, but the idea of turning waste into useful products came to life brilliantly in 1963 with the Heineken WOBO (world bottle). Envisioned by beer brewer Alfred Heineken and designed by Dutch architect John Habraken, the “brick that holds beer” was ahead of its ecodesign time, letting beer lovers and builders alike drink and design all in one sitting.

Mr. Heineken’s idea came after a visit to the Caribbean where he saw two problems: beaches littered with bottles and a lack of affordable building materials. The WOBO became his vision to solve both the recycling and housing challenges that he had witnessed on the islands.

The final WOBO design came in two sizes - 350 and 500 mm versions that were meant to lay horizontally, interlock and layout in the same manner as ‘brick and mortar’ construction. One production run in 1963 yielded 100,000 bottles some of which were used to build a small shed on Mr. Heineken’s estate in Noordwijk, Netherlands. One of the construction challenges “was to find a way in which corners and openings could be made without cutting bottles,” said Mr. Habraken.

Despite the success of the first “world bottle” project, the Heineken brewery didn’t support the WOBO and the idea stalled. Interest was reignited in 1975 when Martin Pawley published Garbage Housing which included the chapter ‘WOBO: a new kind of message in a bottle.’ Heineken once again approached Habraken who teamed up with designer Rinus van den Berg and designed a building with oil drums for columns, Volkswagen bus tops for roof and the WOBO bottles for walls, but the structure was never built.

Today, the shed at the Heineken estate and a wall made of WOBO at the Heineken Museum in Amsterdam are the only structures where the ‘beer brick’ was used. As to the remaining WOBO’s it’s not clear how many exist, or where, but the idea, even some four decades later, remains a lasting example in end-use innovation."

We should develop bottles that have a life after their contents have been guzzled. We can't keep throwing glass away. Maybe the idea we had a while ago for refil packs could work?

Branston are giving students loans in the form of 24 packs of their Baked Beans to start their university terms off.

This cleverly targeted activity aimed fairly and squarely at students is brilliant and has generated a great deal of PR because it is of genuine relevance, use and interest to students. What's more it's also disarmingly surprising and therefore fits in with Russell Davies' theory of being:




From Beyond Baked Beans:

"According to a report in yesterday's Times food manufacturer Branston is introducing a baked beans loan scheme. Students will receive free cans and pay for them once they start work.

Cases of 24 tins will be delivered by Branston - a relatively new entrant to the bean market - to participating students, every term for the next three years. They will defer the interest-free payment of £105.84, at today’s prices, until the students start work.

Apparently sales of baked beans in student households are down 20% in the last five years with students developing more sophisticated tastes - such as the Thai Green Curry posted today. That's also roughly the period this site has been in existence so who knows, maybe we started the trend!

Anyway if you want to take advantage of the offer - and why not - you should email Apparently you have to settle the loan by the end of your first year of paid employment though whether Branston is going to employ a vast staff of debt collectors to enforce that seems highly unlikely."

Nick has made the following observations about why this idea is so good:

1. The idea is well targeted, and shows a really well defined business and consumer challenge. A clear ‘X’ marks the spot.

2. It is disruptive and newsworthy. Yesterday I heard a radio discussion about this launch sandwiched between an article on student debt and the political party conferences. It made ‘headline’ news at virtually no cost. It has been covered on many news programmes and newspapers. I assume that they are communicating on campus and in student-targeted publications too. It got covered not because of the amount of A&P spend, but because it was inventive, surprising, relevant and entertaining.

3. The context and the manner of delivering the message communicates Branston as a big brand, and more importantly (for this brand) a big baked beans brand

4.It is highly relevant to the target audience, and likely to generate discussion amongst them.

5. Every student that takes up the ‘loan’ will try the brand enough times to become a loyalist, and as students usually live with other students are likely to talk about the brand to their friends.

6.Once students have registered for the ‘loan’ Branston will have a database and the right to further communication, which they would not have had if they just gave away the beans.

7. The more obvious approach of just giving away the beans would still have the potential to convert Heinz users, but would not have delivered the talk value (word of mouth or news coverage) and ongoing relationship.

On top of this activity, taste tests have shown that 76% prefered Branstons to Heinz. Heinz are clearly rattled hence their decision to change the recipe for their Beans.

We love the clever targeting and timing and the sheer simplicity of the idea. It's an idea fits with John Grant's Marketing Innovation Manifesto and Alex Wipperfurth's Brand Hijack. What we need are strong interesting ideas that are useful and executed in a surprising way.

Thank you Nick for this.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Move over Evian, Bling is here!

Just when the word "bling" had finally run its course, along comes Bling H2O. The movers and shakers of the world have chosen this as their preferred drink. This is the most expensive bottled water in the world and celebrities swear by its crisp and fresh taste. It has now become a status symbol for people in the news.

The world’s first super luxury bottled water comes in limited-edition, wine-sized corked frosted bottles embedded with Swarovski crystals spelling out its name. A round or rectangular charm denoting the genuine Swarovski adornments hangs from a bottleneck chain. The bottles of liquid gold can set you back as much as £68 at luxury European hotels and top US night spots.

“Either you bling or you don't bling,” says Bling H2O founder Kevin Boyd, a Hollywood writer-producer. “This is pop culture in a bottle.”

Since its launch in 2006, Bling has turned up at an after-party for the MTV Video Music Awards, in the dressing rooms of the 48th annual Grammy Awards, and at a style lounge for the Emmys, where it was used to give stars facials because of its good 7.3 pH balance. Bling also made the scene at Super Bowl festivities in Miami and at NBA All-Star game happenings in Las Vegas.

The pimped-up bottles come in several color schemes, including one of cobalt blue glass and one with canary yellow crystals. The number one market is France where it is sold in the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs Elysées in Paris.

With flashy bottles, a hefty price tag and genuine crystals, Bling H2O is definitely making its presence felt.

You can find Bling H2O at or take a look at its myspace page

Expanding on the idea of booze tourism... the Jura Island Lodge is a great example.

From the Isle of Jura:

"In the not so distant past we welcomed distillery guests in the distillery itself. With the opening of the Lodge we are delighted to be able to do so again.

For the many people that help us make Jura whisky successful around the world, the lodge will be an ideal place to come and discover more about the distillery and the island with which it shares its name.

For the true whisky enthusiasts we are delighted to announce the foundation of The Jura Fellowship, a four day residential programme where guests will be immersed in distillery and island life.

The lodge will also be available for private rental at certain times of the year. Shooting, hunting, fishing, fell walking, lobster eating, sailing and whisky drinking can all be organised upon request. Alternatively you can do very little, relax in the land of no mobile phone coverage and enjoy the pace of island life.

For further details please contact

Hoping to see you soon."

The wine industry has become a leading architectural light. Recent exciting constructions include Frank Gehry's Maruues de Riscal winery and hotel in Rioja and Zaha Hadid's Vina Tondonia. These amazing buildings bring to life the way wine and spirits engulf your senses...

From the Architectural Record:

"The wine-tasting pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid for the historic López de Heredia Winery in the Rioja region of Spain compresses complexity and depth into a diminutive structure. Built first as a display stand for a Barcelona food fair in 2002 and then reassembled at the winery, it is now nestled under a glass shading canopy suspended from large, L-shaped cantilevering steel beams on one side. The pavilion, like a series of nested Russian dolls, in turn shelters the winery’s elaborately carved mahogany and oak display stand for the 1910 Brussels Worlds Fair. Seen another way, the pavilion is an alluring portal to the mysteries of the winery. The flask-shaped profile of its entry opens up like a funnel inside, as if burrowing into the hidden world of the sprawling complex of buildings behind it. Either way, Hadid’s design, without being too trite or obvious, alludes to the complexities experienced in uncorking and savoring a bottle of aged Rioja wine.

It is surprising to find a caprice of contemporary architecture at one of La Rioja’s oldest and most tradition-bound wineries. Situated among other wineries at the edge of the town of Haro in the northeast part of Spain near the Basque region, this family-run business, now in its fourth generation, sticks to the winemaking methods for fermentation and aging established by Rafael López de Heredia, who founded it in 1877. No stainless-steel vats or computer-run temperature controls can be found here.

But the new pavilion is more than just a fashionable marketing ploy. Hadid—whom the founder’s great-granddaughter, María José López de Heredia, discovered in a 1995 monograph—created a structure that is simply another element of the winery’s already iconoclastic campus. It joins Txori Toki (the Basque term for birdhouse), a colorful lookout tower that crowns the López residence, built around 1886, along with a vaguely Art Nouveau gallery-bridge of colored Belgian glass that joins the house to the office block, and countless other elements, including a 1910 American windmill. López also found a 1910 display pavilion disassembled and forgotten in one of the winery’s storerooms. Too tall to fit in existing buildings, it became the motive for Hadid’s project. The architects developed the design through the gradual deformation of a rectangular space in section, moving from the back of the structure to the front, to end with what project architect Jim Heverin calls “a distorted memory shape resembling a decanter—which was not an intentional end point, but once noticed, could not be ignored."

From Luxist:

"An obsession with fine whiskies or fine wines inevitably leads to a journey. At some point, the local shop around the corner just won't do it for you anymore. Forbes has a pair of stories, one for whisky lovers and one for wine lovers that list ideal locations to indulge your passion.

Wineries can be found in nearly every corner of the world these days and Napa or Tuscany may the most obvious places but there are plenty more spots to hit. Suggestions on the Forbes list include South Africa's Stellenbosch wine region, Marlborough, New Zealand, which is famous for its Sauvignon Blancs and the the Maipo wine region near Santiago, Chile. If you must hit Italy or California, they recommend the Piedmont area of Italy and the less touristy but still booming Paso Robles region in California.

For the rarer whiskies you'll need to check your bank balance first, a two-ounce pour of the Ladyburn 1973 sells for $210. To experience the ultimate in whisky nirvana head to the Skibo Castle in the Scottish Highlands with your $75,000 bottle of 1926 The Macallan."

We should develop our distilleries in conjunction with local communities to be set up to give people interested in how our drinks are made an amazing experience. This is also great for the communities around the distilleries who would see a benefit from tourism.

From the ever brilliant Luxist:

"Cognac for mixing? That's the pitch behind the new Courvoisier Exclusif a new version of Courvoisier that is designed to be mixed in a cocktail. It is a blend of six to 12-year-old cognacs. The Exclusif will not dilute when served in a cocktail and recommended cocktails include a new version of the cosmopolitan and a champagne cocktail. The Courvoisier Exclusif sells for around $50. The recent launch party in Atlanta included Usher, shown at right. Clearly a move to help introduce the younger crowd to the world of cognac."

It's great to see Exclusif launching with a bang.

This article on TodaysTMJ4 gives a good review too:

"Courvoisier Introduces Its Exclusif Marque To The U.S.
(BI) Sara Feldkamp
ATLANTA -- "The Exclusif Experience" recently hit Hotlanta hot spot, Sugar Hill, for the official launch event to introduce the new, super-premium marque of Courvoisier, Exclusif.

Atlanta's who's who were given the exclusive opportunity to not only be among the first in the country to taste Exclusif, but also had the exclusive opportunity to hear new music from Jive Records' neo-soul artist Raheem DeVaughn's new album, Love Behind the Melody.

Pictured above is R&B superstar, Usher, being presented with a bottle of Courvoisier Exclusif by Camille Binder, Courvoisier diplomat, Atlanta.

While enjoying this luxurious experience and sipping signature Courvoisier cocktails, the invitation-only audience was further immersed into the ambiance of the atmosphere as they watched famed artist, Monica Tookes, create art live, to the sounds of music, and inspired by Exclusif.

Guests sipped Courvoisier's signature premium cocktails, such as Courvoisier Exclusif Cosmo and Courvoisier Exclusif French Kiss, as they got down to the sounds of the legendary DJ Biz Markie.

The music master provided the hottest mix of music on the turntables, and official House of Courvoisier brand spokesperson, Big Tigger, kept the party buzzing with high-octane energy and the dance floor packed."

The launch is on loads of blogs and news websites. It seems teaming up with Usher has worked wonders in terms of PR.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Introducing... GO WODKA, the first drink in a tube!

Trendy and stylish party people all around the globe go for GO! The coolish aluminium in combination with the cool shape of the tube is a perfect combination that is the key element for the image of GO: unique, new, cool, stylish, trend-setting, spirited, daring. There are 9 varieties to choose from including GO Wodka Energy, Go Wodka Extreme Cranberry, Go Pure Energy and GO Sport Isotonic Grapefruit.

At the same time this is the image of the GO community, too. Similar to GO, every member of the GO community has a unique character and at the same time is part of group of like-minded people with similar preferences and desires. They share one thing: They are daring and adventurous trend-setters, not intimidated by the unknown and attracted by the new.

GO can't be missing at any stylish, high-class party and is found at the hottest events all around the globe where it quenches the thirst and gets the party going. Amongst the many that have already felt the unique vibes of GO are Paris Hilton, Pierce Brosnan, Dannii Minogue, Eva Herzigova, Jerry Hall and David Coulthard.

Since 2004, GO has been covered by television, magazines and print media all around the world. Currently exported to over 10 countries with USA, Mexico, Israel, Hong Kong and Finland amongst them, GO is on its way to the UK featuring in women's glossy magazines and available in selected bars priced £3 per tube.

The media and consumers have recognised: GO has initiated an unstoppable trend that will transform the culture of drinking. Take a look for yourselves at, GO WODKA looks set to be the next big thing.

Saw this on NotCot and I belive in Adv and thought it was good. Similar to some of the stuff Maker's Mark do. Could be awesome for Hornitos' iconic green line.

Becks is using super cool lighting effects and hologram technology to create awesome events.

Hotels are dabbling with using smells to create spaces in their lobbies... great idea. Would be awesome for some of our brands or in bars... especially given the smoking ban.


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