Tuesday, December 23, 2008

These two ads for Jamesons were both in Shorlist last week - but they don't really feel like they are from the same brand...

Is that a problem? Yes. The "Seriously Playful" ads should reflect the same personality as the "cult film" promotion. Personally, I don't they don't seem to gel very well.

What are Jameson basing their "cult films" credentials on? And also, what are they basing their seriously playful ads on? Because it's triple distilled and Irish? And does this matter? I mean, Heinken claimed to refresh parts of the body other beers couldn't reach...

I've got a soft spot for Jameson because a drunken Irish vicar christened me "Jonathan Jameson Brown" rather than "Jonathan James Brown"! But even with this, Seriously Playful just seems a bit too try hard and contrived.

Here are 3 Glenfiddich brand ads... based on the idea that taking time makes better whisky. All quite generic. And it's a territory we constantly dance around with all of our spirit brands.

These two are for Glenfiddich 15 Year Old - which go into more depth about coopers and aromas. All very product focussed. Very discerning. All very whisky.

I like the clean look and feel. The fact that they match the base brand ads will greeted with cheers of delight from the consistent look and feel merchants...

It's all very safe and far from revolutionary. Old school stuff.

Well done Patron. Good PR for them. Less good for Moet. Being associated with Wayne Rooney probably isn't really in line with LVMH's "luxury credentials".

I had never realised that Remy's equivalent to Jean-Marc Olivier at Courvoisier is Pierrette Trichet. I had, very ignorantly, assumed that all the cognac master blenders were men. Apparently, women have a better sense of smell, in general. So it makes a lot of sense.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm looking forward to an opportunity to use QR coasters in a promotion. It seems like a really simple way of allowing interested consumers to opt in to access more information about our brands. Would be a great way to showcase drinks recipes, access additional information about the brands or use a launch pad for other promotions...

I found these coasters on Shop QR Me

Imagine if you could download a piece of music that was designed to make your drinking experience more immersive... see this post about music enhancing the taste of wine from earlier in the year.

Moet's idea to set up an Atelier where you can personalise bottles of their champagne with swarovski crystals is a good idea judging from the amount of coverage it is getting online and in newspapers.

Putting the tackiness of the idea to one side, this "innovation" has given people a reason both to buy Moet over its rivals, but more importantly has given people and jouranlists a reason to talk about Moet.

Here's GQ's piece:

"Champagne is always a welcome Christmas present, so the new Atelier Moët store may well be your best friend this festive season. Open from 3 to 28 December (so prime for New Year’s too), Moët & Chandon’s temporary pop-up store on London’s New Bond Street will customise your bottle of bubbly with the name, monogram or indeed date of your choice spelt out in Swarovski crystals. Opt to pay £50 for next-day delivery of a 75cl bottle, or £75 for while-you-wait, with larger sizes up to the 1,500cl Nebuchadnezzar also available. Gives a new meaning to the term “sparkling wine”."

You can see from the map below that this pop up promotion is running in several major cities around the world: Paris, London, Milan, Madrid, Macau and Singapore.

The US version of the Atelier is called My Moet which seems a lot less premium to me. But there you go. Also, because of the crazy booze regulations in the US you have to link out to distributor sites which are disgustingly off brand and lack any sense of class whatsoever. O well.

It's certainly bucking the anit-bling trend that seems to be taking over the world right now. But maybe we all need a bit of sparkle in our lives?

"Coganc house Camus has unveiled their latest special edition, Cuvée 3.128. The Camus Cuvée 3.128 is its first super-premium offer and represents a new flagship for the house. It is a blend of three unique eaux de vie from leading vineyards belonging to one family. The 128 refers to the total of the ages of the three eaux de vie use in the blend (41, 43 and 44 years old).

There are just 3,068 bottles available in the batch. When those are sold a new limited edition will be created with a different blend of spirits. It comes in a Baccarat crystal decanter designed by French artist Serge Mansau, and is topped with necklace of pearls. It sells for $2,500."

Now I am sure 3.128 seems like a clever name. And it is different to all the other names in the luxury cognac category. But... isn't it just a bit odd? Imagine the conversation...

"I just got a massive bonus and bought a bottle of Camus cognac for a small fortune. Bloody good stuff it is too"

"What's it called?"

"Ermmm... 3.128"

Not exactly the same as saying "L'Esprit de Courvoisier" or Remy Treize" or "Black Pearl" or "Paradis by Hennessy" is it?

And at this level, where image is so important... isn't it crucial to have an impressive name?

But the bottle is beautiful. So everything's fine.

From Luxist:

"I've been hearing lots of buzz lately about the Glemorangie Signet, people really want to get their hands on this bottle. The whisky is causing a stir for several reasons, the first that it is not touting the age on the bottle and the second that the whisky uses a chocolate malt mixed in with barley to create the mash. The word being used to describe it is "voluptuous" and both a Businessweek article and Bill Dowd seem to heartily concur while John Hansell of Malt Advocate seems a bit more reserved although he does declare it to be a fun whisky. It has notes of sherry, maple, marmalade, tobacco and yes, chocolate.

The age of whiskies in Signet hasn't been revealed but it's likely a younger concoction and a smart move to make one at a time when Scotland is feeling the pinch of a shortage of older whiskies ready to tap. The Signet is priced like an older whisky, $185 a bottle but so far the tasters seem to think its worth it. It should start showing up in stores this month."

Sherry, maple, marmalade, tobacco and chocolate sounds delicious. The use of chocolate in the malting process is very interesting, acting as a very simple point of difference.

In addition, this is a good example of generating both online and traditional PR with opinion formers in the early phase of the launch to create credibility and desire before Christmas.

Add the mystery of how old the whisky is and it's a talkability recipe.

Great idea from our rivals at Remy brought to you from Luxist:

"Rémy Martin has announced their first single-harvest cognac since Rémy Martin 1965. Rémy Martin has chosen a cognac crafted from the legendary 1989 vintage. Hot summer days combined with cool nights for ideal maturation of the Ugni Blanc grapes. Georges Clot, Rémy Martin cellar master at the time, strove to select the best plots from over a thousand exclusively located in Grande Champagne vineyards, choosing eaux-de-vie from four estate-owned plots. After 18 years of ageing in Limousin oak barrels which were kept separately in a dedicated Rémy Martin cellar, it was decided at the annual tasting in 2007, that Rémy Martin 1989 was reaching its peak.

Tasting notes highlight clove and fig with an intense lingering mouthfeel. It is sold in a black frosted bottle with a resealable wooden cork hand dipped in wax to create a unique seal for each bottle and sells for $300."

Vintages are a good idea, especially when they coincide with a birth year. I remember getting a bottle of 1982 Chateau Brown for my 21st birthday which was very special.

As ever, a well pitched limited edition gives people yet another excuse to talk about the brand.

From Luxist

"Russian Standard Vodka, which bills itself as Russia's #1 luxury vodka, has embarked on a nine-city U.S. tour with a gaggle of gorgeous contestants from the Miss Russia Pageant. In each city, the models are toasting the U.S. and providing fans "an insider look into Russia's most popular cities, cultural heritage and legendary nightlife." The Russian beauties, including Alina Ivanova (above) pictured at the Russian Standard distillery, are currently in Miami making their way to New York for a Nov. 19 finale.

The Miss Russia Pageant is Russia's national beauty pageant which draws contestants from over 70 regions and serves as a springboard to national and international fame for many young women. The annual Miss Russia winner receives a $100,000 cash prize, free use of an apartment for a year, a university stipend and a modeling contract. Russian Standard vodkas are made with only the finest local ingredients, "uniquely conforming to the formula for vodka established in 1894" by famed Russian scientist Dimitri Mendeleev for Russia's Czars."

CSR anyone?

From Luxist and Brand Republic:

"Scottish whiskeymaking and Scottish photography combine with the launch of The Macallan Masters of Photography Rankin Edition. Rankin is a famed Scottish photographer and he was chosen to Easter Elchies House, the "spiritual home of The Macallan." He spent a summer interpreting the The Macallan Estate through his camera lens. The result is 1,000 unique bottles of The Macallan Fine Oak 30 year old single malt whisky each bearing an original Rankin image, captured on Polaroid. Since Polaroid was discontinued this year,The Masters of Photography represents the end of an era. The black-and-white pictures include artistic studies of the lovely Tuuli, Rankin's muse, shown on this bottle, as well as pictures of Easter Elchies House, shots of craftspeople at the distillery, and still life images of the surrounding flora and fauna at the estate. Each bottle comes in a black leather box lined with velvet and containing an original Rankin Polaroid. Each bottle will have an individually printed label which matches the specific Polaroid contained within the box and a booklet of authenticity signed by Rankin. Each bottle sells for around $1,300."

This is really impressive stuff. A great way of putting together a product that people really want. What I like most is:

1. Even though this is a limited edition of 1000, it is interesting to people above and beyond people who might buy a bottle.

2. The photography of Rankin draws in people who are interested in art, design and photography who wouldn't otherwise have felt connected to Macallan

3. The photography gives people the ability to disperse the Macallan story - given the range of the shots this idea is spreading beautiful little nuggets of Macallan around the web

4. The black and white style of Rankin's photography feels very premium and on a basic look and feel level gives Macallan the gloss that it is well known for

5. Given that each photograph is unique it makes each bottle very special. Typically, limited editions will feature a signature and numbering... but this goes much further... making each bottle feel precious

6. It's worth talking about

From Luxist

"The luxe Lanesborough Hotel in London has just acquired the world's oldest bottle of cognac, distilled in 1770, and is offering it to patrons of their plush Library Bar (above) for £4,000, or about $6,000, per shot. That's considerably more than the ultra-expensive Louis XIII Black Pearl Magnum cognac my colleague Lisa Palladino wrote about last summer, which cost $2,500 per shot. In addition to the 240-year-old tipple, the Lanesborough, a St. Regis property, just installed a new walk-in cigar humidor, the first of its kind in a London hotel. The humidor houses 1,000 cigars and contains 25 private lockers for the personal collections of top patrons, who can enjoy Cuban and even pre-Castro smokes in the hotel's posh Garden Room."

I wonder what "brand" is behind this? Not many of the cognac houses were around in 1770 apart from Remy and Martell,so it might well be an indepenent cognac. It's interesting that several people have picked up on the fact that you can legally smoke cigars at the Lanesborough as the big selling point!

This was also covered on Just Luxe

From Luxist

"Classic Italian aperitif Campari has just unveiled its new multimedia ad campaign starring sexy actress Jessica Alba. The "Club Campari" campaign (above) includes pictures by famed fashion photographer Mario Testino and a commercial by legendary director Jean Paul Goude. Capturing Campari's Dolce Vita style, the campaign is
set in "a distinctive oceanside destination, where sensuality and temptation prevail in a sophisticated, playful atmosphere." Several of Testino's sexy snaps will be featured in a limited edition calendar, of which only 9,999 copies will be distributed worldwide. Testino also lensed Campari's previous campaign starring the stunning Salma Hayek. See the gallery for more pix."

Great photography. But what else would you expect from Mario Testino. It must have cost a few quid. But it really captures the Italian glamour of the brand.

From Luxist

"If your palate craves the creme-de-la-creme of Scotch whisky than you'reabout to be treated to a sensual experience...if you can get your hands on one of the fifty-seven bottles produced. Bowmore's 1965 Single Malt Scotch Whisky is only the second single malt produced at Bowmore since the Queen visited in the 1980's which makes it all the more covetable. Matured in bourbon and a percentage in Oloroso sherry casks it carries a special essence marked by the premium peat grown on the island of Islay where Bowmore is located. Islay's malts are characterized by smokey, marine aromas and palate and this particular single malt speaks of fruity and floral aromas paired with smoked oak chips. The one-liter bottle of honey colored Scotch whisky is priced at £6,000 and is available for sale exclusively at Heathrow Terminal 5."

This was also picked up by Luxury blog, Lussorian.

This is the blurb from BAA's airport gift site:

"If you’re flying this Christmas, the airport gift list site is the ideal way to find those perfect presents. We've picked a selection of the best products and invited celebrities to tell us what they are buying this festive season. Have a look at the great range of products available at our airports and start building your wish list now."

It seems you can pre-order stuff to pick up at the terminal which isn't a bad idea. Celebrity lists is fun. But it seems everything is more expensive than on Amazon or elsewhere.

From Luxist

"The folks at the beloved Bruichladdich Scotch distillery on Islay have released a bottling of their first single malt from the year the famed distillery was resurrected in 2001. Founded in 1881, Bruichladdich was closed in 1994 before being brought back to life 7 years later. Conceived as an homage to the Harvey Brothers, the original owners of 1881, the bottle design is nonetheless extremely modern, done completely in light blue. The whisky, of which only 24,000 bottles are being produced in a limited, numbered edition, is described as a lightly peated, refined, floral and fruity spirit."

For additional posts from Luxist about Bruichladdich click on the link.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Glenfiddich have commissioned design agency Johnson Banks to bring their use of barrels to life with a series of artworks.

From PSFK:

"The creative team decided to use the barrel as their muse, exploring it in its singular parts, as a way of depicting the distinctive characteristics of Glenfiddich’s five signature whiskies, aged 12 to 30 years. The end result of the project is a stunning display of industrial pieces that give weight to the passage of time. The image pictured at right illustrates “the angel’s share,” the amount of whisky that evaporates during distillation, the words “For 21 Years We Take a Share” cut into the wood. With so many alcohol companies spending top dollar on advertising campaigns promoting vacuous experiences, it’s a nice change to see a celebration of tradition and taste which is ultimately the thing being sold anyway."

Here's a snapshot of some of the pieces:

For more images and an interesting glimpse into the creative process visit the Flcikr set here.

And for debate about the pros and cons of this project visit the Creative Review blog which is generally in favour of the idea, but many of the commenters feel that the creative execution wasn't radical enough. Maybe they should have commissioned an artist rather than a design agency? That said, I think the work is very impressive. It is something we have thought about for a number of our whisky and cognac brands in the past. Getting people to talk about whisky isn't easy and this project seems to have achieved it.

Bonkers. But getting a fair bit of media coverage. And very true to form of Burger King to do something whacky that centres on their superior burgers. You can see this through recent work on Whopper Freakout, Whopper Bars and the recent Whopper Virgins campaign. This is from Brand Republic:

"Fast-food chain Burger King has launched a meat-scented cologne in the US for under $4 (£2.56) and has aptly called it "Flame".

The men's fragrance, which is being sold at a New York retailer and online, is being touted as "the scent of seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat".

Meat-loving consumers can buy a bottle of the scent for just $3.99.

Burger King has also launched a website called FireMeetsDesire.com to accompany the cologne.

The site reads: "The Whopper sandwich is America's favourite burger. Flame by BK captures the essence of that love and gives it to you."

Users are also greeted with the caption: "Now you can set the mood for whatever you're in the mood for."

Burger King released the fragrance earlier this week and an informal survey carried out by the Boston Herald revealed that some men would actually wear it."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Courvoisier hosted a spectacular party for the Future 500 at The House of St. Barnabus on Greek Street. The Future 500 (F500) is a network created by Courvoisier, designed to support and promote Britain's most sparkling talent. The event last week celebrated the success of our members by showcasing some of the inspirational work that they have accomplished this year as well as creating a rich environment for networking and sharing ideas. Click here to watch the Brand Republic video. And for a round up of what the idea is all about click here for a previous post.

I was privileged to be invited and was genuinely overwhelmed by how enthusiastic the Members were. They all had nothing but praise for the idea and relished the chance to meet up with like minded entrepreneurs. One of the best things about the network is the Future Bank which offers members the chance to pitch, on a monthly basis, for £1,000 funding for fresh and inventive ideas...

Le Nez was also given its first public outing. We created a room dedicated to the layers of aromas and flavours found within Courvoisier XO Imperial. We have identified 3 key aromas for each of our 7 marques and have created them as perfumes as a way of demystifying Courvoisier cognac and helping people to understand the cognac experience in a refreshing way.

We created a darkened room styled to look like a perfumery with seating for 5 intimate guests. Rebecca explained the idea and then presented the 3 key aromas - for XO the aromas of creme brulee, candied orange and iris flowers. To enhance the experience of each aroma we have worked with an incredibly talented musician called Laurent Assoulen who is able to compose the sound of smells. We played this music whilst we diffused the key aromas.

There was a queue of people all night waiting to experience Le Nez de Courvoisier and the feedback was excellent. It's great to see such a positive reaction to this sensory experience.

Le Nez permeated the whole event, with cocktails designed to pair up with the aromas in Exclusif - A Gingerbread Courvoisier Exclusif cocktail played with the aroma of gingerbread that you find in this cognac.

And delicious creme brulees played with the aroma of creme brulee in XO.

The Courvoisier Future 500 is on a roll - we can't wait to see how it evolves.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I spotted this on PSFK and thought it might be useful for some of Beam's whisky brands.

"At Future Trends 08, Spike TV presented research that they released earlier this year. The research has obviously been created to help sell advertising but for anyone out there who is making products, services or communications for men in America, it might provide some useful data points. Luckily, you readers don’t have to make it to Miami. Simply download the PDF here and a summary is on this page here."

The legends over at Trusted Places put on a fantastic Day of the Dead party at Chilango off Fleet Street in London. To read more about it visit either watch the video below or click on this link to their blog.

Thanks to Walid, Sokratis and Niamh for organising such a great event. We can't wait to get involved again.

Trawling through Technorati, I found this great pictoral review on Flash Eccentric of the Hornitos sponsored Day of the Dead party in New York...

"Firstly, nobody can beat Heidi Klum’s costume. Next, I can’t beat everyone else. I promise - next year, I’ll put more thought and effort into my Halloween costume. Refinery29 snapped some awesome costumes which the “it” people in NYC were dressed in, at the Hornitos Tequila sponsored Day of the Dead-themed party."

Here are some of the pictures.

And here's the commentary from Refinery 29's blog...

"With Halloween falling on the Friday before the election this year, there was a double-dose of pent-up energy for the holiday. And there was no better way to relieve it than at the Hornitos Tequila sponsored Day of the Dead-themed party. The fete was held at a huge warehouse-like space on Cortland Alley and hosted by Earnest Sewn's Carlos Quirarte, Matt Creed, Matt Kleigman, and Taavo Somer of Freeman's fame. Somer described the decorations as "like the set of ¡Three Amigos! during Día de los Muertos as seen through a tribal pink mescaline dew." With Hornipolitans in hand, guests rocked out to performances by local favorites Lissie Trullie and The Virgins. Party attendees of the night included Mary Kate Olsen, Nate Lowman, Theodora Richards, Harley Viera Newton, Leo Fitzpatrick, and Rogan, who was dressed as a giant Jesus roaming around on stilts.

Our Style Director, Piera Gelardi, was judging the midnight costume competition, along with Scott Campbell, Waris, and Julie Gilhart, but didn't hear her name called. Our absentee vote named Gia Bahm—dressed as this iconic Annie Leibovitz photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono—the winner. Side note: Our friend Shelly lost her wallet that night. Ay carumba! But it was returned to her yesterday by the bartender Juan who found and returned three wallets that night. What a guy!"

Looks like a great event. And as an aside, these are some of the best event photographs I have seen for ages. Top work from snapper Olivia Jade Horner.

Part of the current Hornitos marketing plan in the US is the Hortnitos Electric Garden. I just found this video on NBC5 Street Team's blog and thought it was worth posting.

Hornitos': Midnight in the Garden of Agave from Jen Knoedl on Vimeo.

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Teacher’s helps men identify this space under the ‘Create your space’ platform, developed in 2007, and evolved in April this year with the launch of the ‘Win an Airstream travel trailer’ or ‘1 of 250 Mountain bikes’ on-pack promotion. This was supported by a Press campaign and a uniquely illustrative website designed to challenge the ‘dusty’ brand perception and encourage interaction via an online quiz. The promotion finished last month with over 18,000 applications which gave an impressive 12% redemption rate

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For more information on the promotion visit the website www.teacherswhisky.com/space


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