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Top 10 spirits marketing campaigns in October 2018

Another celeb-filled month for marketing saw Ted Danson star in Smirnoff vodka’s latest TV spot, while blended Scotch brand Dewar’s launched a new global campaign featuring Game of Thrones actor Iain Glen as narrator.

Actors Ted Danson and Jenna Fischer star in Smirnoff’s new ad

Last month, American whiskey brand Seagram’s 7 launched its first marketing campaign in more than 10 years, and Scotch brand Talisker created a new film highlighting brand advocates and their love of the outdoors.

A number of brands also got creative with blended Scotch whisky Label 5 unveiling an online competition for its next street art-inspired bottle design, while Diageo-owned Bourbon Bulleit celebrated the art of tattooing in its latest Community Ink initiative.

Over the following pages, we name our top marketing campaigns launched in October 2018.

Whyte & Mackay

Scotch whisky maker Whyte & Mackay is giving away 120,000 whisky glasses as part of its Funny as Folk campaign.

The blended whisky brand is offering four whisky glass designs for fans to collect, each engraved with a “quippy” one-­liner.

Launched as an extension of the brand’s Funny as Folk campaign, the glasses feature lines such as ‘never brings a bottle but always takes a drink’ or ‘always appears when the whisky comes out’.

The glasses will be available with bottles of Whyte & Mackay Triple Matured Blended Scotch Whisky across the UK in Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Co­op stores.

Ruairi Perry, Whyte & Mackay head of blended whisky brands, said: “The quippy one-­liners depict characters every consumer can relate to, making them a must-­buy.”


French vodka brand Poliakov has been able to connect with more than 700,000 consumers in Europe with its ‘Ice Wall’ virtual reality (VR) experience.

Over the summer, Poliakov travelled to various music festivals, including Arenal Sound and Granada Sound in Spain, and Rock Zottegem in Belgium. The two­-minute VR activation used a ‘hyper-sense’ simulator and Oculus VR glasses to take consumers on a journey exploring all emotions, including “having fun and being scared, thrilled at the same time”.

The campaign also generated more than 900,000 interactions on Facebook and YouTube.


Diageo-owned Bourbon brand Bulleit has launched its Community Ink campaign to celebrate the creative art of tattooing.

The campaign, part of the brand’s Frontier Works initiative, saw five tattoo artists from Europe come together to create the continent’s first tattooed leather billboard. Bulleit commissioned Dominique Holmes in London, Ross Nagle from Ireland, Chris Henriksen from Denmark, Valentin Hirsch from Berlin and Amsterdam-­based artist Sara Koning to design and create the leather tattoo mural.

The campaign marks the first piece from Bulleit Bourbon’s Frontier Works in Europe. The platform celebrates creative individuals who are pushing the “frontier of their craft”.

Label 5

Blended Scotch whisky brand Label 5 has launched an online contest in search of its next limited edition street art­-inspired bottle design.

The online competition follows the La Martiniquaise-­owned brand’s Power of 5 World Tour, which saw leading graffiti artists create works inspired by the number five.

Artists including Rami Mouallem, Szabotage and Arnaud Kool created art for the tour, during which the brand travelled to London, Beirut, Brussels, Hong Kong and Mexico.

Members of the public can vote for their favourite design on the brand’s social media platforms.


Scotch whisky brand Talisker has created a new film to celebrate elemental adventurers as part of a year-­long campaign.

Talisker’s A Wild Spirit Made by the Sea film highlights eight brand advocates and their love of the outdoors.

The film, which will be shared through paid for, social and owned media channels, opens with wild swimmer Sophie Hellyer enjoying the sea on the coast of the Isle of Skye.

It also features Ashley Watson, an off­-road motorcyclist; Katie Tunn, a wild camper and ocean advocate; and the Four Oarsmen, world record­-breakers and winners of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Walsh Whiskey

Walsh Whiskey has signed a year-­long sponsorship deal with whisky podcast WhiskyCast for its Writers’ Tears brand.

Under the deal, Writers’ Tears Copper Pot will feature in promotional spaces on and in every episode of the WhiskyCast podcast.

Writers’ Tears has created a range of adverts that will feature in episodes of WhiskyCast. The adverts include six stings in two themes, including ‘What’s Rare is Wonderful’ and ‘Do You Dare to be Creative?’

The stings will appear before the ‘Behind The Label’ section of the podcast, which focuses on the history and the science behind whisk(e)y.

Seagram’s 7

Diageo-owned American whiskey brand Seagram’s 7 has launched its first marketing campaign in more than 10 years.

The campaign, called This is Your Whiskey, has been created to honour the “no­-frills” American dive bar, with images of jukeboxes, graffitied bathrooms and bar stools.

New York-­based creative agency Forsman & Bodenfors created the campaign, which includes activations on digital video, social media and out of home.

The campaign also features a series of videos created by cinematographer Ed David.

The launch of the campaign follows a design update for Seagram’s 7, which the brand says has helped drive growth over the past six months.


Blended Scotch brand Dewar’s has launched a US$15 million marketing push for its Live True campaign, which features a voiceover from Game of Thrones actor Iain Glen.

The campaign is inspired by the Bacardi­-owned brand’s “obsession with doing things twice to make them better” – a tribute to its double­-ageing process.

Glen tells the tale of a man named Neville Neville, who is dedicated to doing things twice.

The advert debuted in the US and will roll out in Spain and Puerto Rico, among other countries.

It will also be featured in print, digital, social and out­-of-­home advertising.


Smirnoff has expanded its Welcome to the Fun% campaign to highlight its non­-GMO credentials in a new TV spot that stars actress Jenna Fischer.

In the latest campaign video, Fischer, who starred in the US version of The Office, playfully swoops in to steal actor and Smirnoff brand partner Ted Danson’s thunder.

In the clip, Fischer announces that “Smirnoff No. 21 is now made with non-­GMO [corn]”.

As the vodka brand became certified GMO-­free in the US, Diageo unveiled a refreshed design for its Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka, giving a nod to the brand’s heritage.

Glen Scotia

Campbeltown-based distillery Glen Scotia has adopted 100,000 bees to help preserve the species and improve the firm’s sustainability credentials.

The distillery partnered with beekeepers at eco-­innovation business Plan Bee as part of its efforts to “position the Kintyre peninsula at the forefront of Scotland’s food­-and-drink map”. The bees will live on site and their honey will be available to buy in spring 2019.

Iain McAlister, Glen Scotia manager, said the distillery is “dedicated” to improving its corporate sustainability.

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