Top 10 crazy spirits marketing stuntsBy Amy Hopkins
Whether by creating a giant cucumber-shaped aircraft or pouring rum over the naked breasts of glamour models, the spirits world has never been averse to clever – but crazy – marketing stunts.
Some stunts are particularly outrageous in order to generate interest in brands through the “shock factor”, while others – such as Justin Timberlake’s role as an irksome lime in a Sauza 901 Tequila short video – are down right hilarious.
Other brands go to great expense to maximise exposure through elaborate events, such as Poliakov Vodka’s journey into space or the creation of the world’s largest bottle of single malt Scotch whisky.
Click through the following pages to see our pick of the top 10 crazy spirits marketing stunts. If you know of any more, let us know by leaving a comment below.
Hendrick’s giant cucumber aircraft
The ever quirky and creative gin brand Hendrick’s launched what it claimed was the world’s first flying cucumber-shaped dirigible last month. Dubbed The Flying Cucumber, the aircraft is decorated with an enormous “eye in the sky” and travels at 35 miles per hour at approximately 1,000 feet. It ran in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, South Florida, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Ann Arbor, Indianapolis and Chicago.
Justin Timberlake dresses as lime
Pop superstar Justin Timberlake surprised everyone when he dressed up head-to-toe as a talking human lime. In a video created to promote his Sauza 901 Tequila brand, Timberlake stars as a lime called Rick “Sour” Vane, reflecting on limes’ biggest accomplishments such as curing “pucker face” and scurvy, amongst others. However, Vane laments the diminishing role of the lime in Tequila due to Sauza’s No Limes Needed message.
Suntory creates incredible ice sculptures
Last April, Japanese whisky producer Suntory created a number of incredibly intricate ice sculptures as part of its 3D on the Rocks campaign. Using 3D printing, the group’s ice sculpture collection included an astronaut, diamond ring, mermaid and a bust of Abraham Lincoln. Japanese creative agency TBWA/Hakuhodo made sure the sculptures were small enough to fit into a whisky tumbler.
Neft Vodka’s graphic video
Russian-Austrian vodka brand Neft sent shock waves through the industry when it unveiled a graphic gangster-style video, which eventually went viral. Shot in collaboration with rock band Biting Elbows for its Bad Motherfucker music video, the film depicts gratuitous shooting, dog biting and knifing in an office setting. The video was directed by Ilya Naishuller and shot over the course of nine hours with five stuntmen using GoPro cameras.
G-Spirits pours whisky over naked breasts
Controversial German producer G-Spirits caused quite the stir in 2012 when it said every single one of its products had been poured over the naked breasts of a model prior to bottling. Its cask strength Scotch whisky has been poured over the chest of Playmate Alexa Varga, while its rum has been touched by the chest of model Amina Malakona. G-Spirits said its products had been approved by German public health department and that medical personnel are present at bottling to ensure standards are met.
Jägermeister hosts gig on iceberg
Known for its outlandish marketing tactics, herbal liqueur brand Jägermeister made history by hosting a gig with British metal band The Defiled on a giant moving iceberg off the island of Tasiilaq, near Greenland. The gig was held to promote the brand’s signature cold shot serve and came two years after Jägermeister broke the Guinness World Record for the coldest gig ever, when they flew ex-Busted singer Charlie Simpson to Siberia in 2012 to perform in -40C conditions.
Tomintoul creates largest Scotch whisky bottle
In 2009, Tomintoul created the world’s largest bottle of single malt Scotch whisky which at 105.3 litres was big enough to fill more than 150 standard-size 70cl bottles. Brand owner Angus Dundee Distillers donated the 14-year-old liquid to local businessmen Dru McPherson and Mike Drury who created a gigantic cork and an oversized label. The bottle was officially certified by Guinness World Records as “The Largest Bottle of Scotch Whisky in the World”, however it failed to sell at auction in 2013.
Whyte & Mackay opens bar on crane
Scotch whisky producer Whyte & Mackay discovered one of the most unusual locations for a bar last year when it opened its own pop-up on top of a crane in Glasgow. The elaborate marketing stunt was staged to celebrate the whisky firm’s 170th anniversary. The Lion’s Clyde bar, which sat in the wheelhouse of the 107-year-old Titan Crane, situated next to the River Clyde, was open for just four days and was thought to be the smallest bar in Scotland.
Fred Noe gets Jim Beam tattoo
Fred Noe, famed seventh generation master distiller of Jim Beam Bourbon, pledged his love and loyalty in a very corporeal way in 2011 when he had the brand’s logo permanently inked on his arm. The distiller made a public pledge to have the tattoo if Jim Beam’s official Facebook page gained more than one million “Likes”.
Poliakov “K Degree” Mission
In February last year, Poliakov Vodka launched a “one of a kind” mission to allow one of its bottles to reach the “ultimate level” of cold – the “K Degree” – the most freezing temperature in the universe, at -273°C. The brand sent a bottle of its vodka into the unknown at an altitude of 20 miles and set up cameras for fans to follow the bottle’s journey through space.