Top 10 marketing moves in January 2023By Alice Brooker
The year kicked off with notable actors, comedians, bartenders and writers teaming up with spirits brands in the marketing world.
From a National Football League (NFL) rum collaboration to Martha Stewart’s supposedly Dry January TV spot, last month was packed full of marketing news that drew our readers in.
Johnnie Walker’s latest campaign with British-Indian actress Simone Ashley gained a lot of traction, while Uncle Nearest’s latest initiative to raise US$1 million for ‘underfunded’ historically Black universities also features in our top 10 marketing moves from January.
Scroll on for the highlights of January 2023’s marketing moves in the spirits world.
For more news on brand collaborations, partnerships and campaigns, check out our round-up for December 2022.
Jameson focuses on mindfulness
Irish whiskey brand Jameson has rolled out a new responsible drinking video campaign in collaboration with comedian Aisling Bea.
The ‘Jameson. Easy Does It’ marketing campaign was co-written by and stars Bea, and encourages consumers to drink moderately, while stressing no-one should feel awkward for choosing to drink more mindfully.
The campaign depicts several typical social drinking occasions, each highlighting social pressures that lead to overconsumption.
Bea said: “The fun part of the challenge was to take the word ‘responsible’ and make it less ominous and more about simple mindset changes.”
Mataroa and Lescoët beg your Padrón
Greek brand Mataroa Dry Gin has partnered with Hyacinthe Lescoët, founder of Paris’s The Cambridge Public House, to introduce a cocktail inspired by the brand’s botanicals.
Lescoët is the founder of the bar. He crafted a Mataroa signature cocktail for the brand, using a key ingredient of juniper berries from Croatia, which is a symbol of youth, fertility and longevity, according to Mataroa.
“The ingredients of a perfect cocktail can be anything, as long as it’s fresh and made with craftsmanship and in synergy with nature,” Lescoët said. “The same goes for the spirits we use: they have to be made in a sustainable way, with passion and skill. Then nothing can go wrong.”
The serve boasts an intense woody smell and spicy, slightly peppery taste. It consists of Mataroa Mediterranean Dry Gin, Padrón pepper and juniper berry soda, and dehydrated Padrón peppers to garnish.
Koloa Rum celebrates historic Raiders win
Hawaii-based Koloa Rum Company has partnered with National Football League (NFL) team Las Vegas Raiders to create a limited edition bottling.
The partners have produced Kauai Reserve Five-Year Single-Barrel Aged Rum to mark the 45th anniversary of the Las Vegas Raiders’ first World Championship against Minnesota in 1977.
“As the official premium rum of the Las Vegas Raiders, we’re honoured to partner with this legendary organisation in creating this special commemorative bottle, celebrating the 45th anniversary of their historic World Championship win,” said Bob Gunter, president and CEO of Koloa Rum Company.
Koloa Rum Company has been the official ultra-premium rum of the Las Vegas Raiders since 2021. The bottling was unveiled last month, before the Raiders’ game against Kansas City.
Belfast Distillery Co heads to South Korea
Irish whiskey producer Belfast Distillery Company has signed a distribution deal with Goldenblue to roll out in South Korea.
The agreement will see 10,000 bottles of the brand’s McConnell’s Irish Whiskey shipped to South Korea, and is supported by government agency Invest Northern Ireland’s (Invest NI) new team in Seoul.
Minister of state for Northern Ireland Steve Baker MP said: “With its ambitious export plans, Belfast Distillery Company is now selling its products in over 30 countries, with its latest success showing how UK government funding is helping Invest NI support Northern Ireland businesses on the world stage.”
Dessie Roche, commercial manager at Belfast Distillery Company, said the deal marked a “significant milestone” for the business.
Tito’s offers twist on Dry January
Vodka brand Tito’s has teamed up with American television personality and writer Martha Stewart to produce an ad for Dry January.
The spot opens with the words ‘Tito’s Dry January’, which transitions to read ‘Tito’s DIY January with Martha Stewart’.
Positioned at a table with a bottle of Tito’s, Stewart says: “Hey, I get it – it’s Dry January, so you’re not drinking much. But if you’ve got Tito’s lying around, don’t just stare at it – use it.”
Stewart then goes on to use Tito’s vodka for a variety of activities, avoiding consuming it. This includes adding it to a pasta sauce, watering flowers with it and tenderising meat with the bottle.
Johnnie Walker rings in changes
Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker has partnered with community platform Diet Paratha and British-Indian actress Simone Ashley to launch a marketing campaign celebrating voices driving meaningful change in their communities.
Johnnie Walker’s Bold Steps initiative will invite artists and designers to create a limited edition bottle design inspired by their creative expression, and will also include the release of a short film, with creative direction from Ashley, Anita Chhiba (pictured), the founder of Diet Paratha, and filmmaker Kajal. Johnnie Walker will offer financial support to the applicant who wins the design brief set by Ashley.
The chosen design will be featured on a Johnnie Walker Black Label bottling, and the brand will continue to support the Diet Paratha Family Tree Mentoring programme with mentorships for five more people throughout 2023.
Healthy Hospo is front of mind
Non-profit Healthy Hospo launched three events, called Mindful Hub, last month to mark Dry January.
Mindful Hub was created in collaboration with industry experts and brands, and focuses on how to improve drinking habits in 2023.
Jason-Candid Knüsel, director of Healthy Hospo, said: “The Mindful Hub is a safe space for hospitality professionals. It reflects what we believe is one of the biggest stigmas in our industry – alcohol misuse. By ensuring we have a good relationship with alcohol, we can maintain our health and the professionalism of the industry in the long term.”
Healthy Hospo partnered with non-alcoholic drinks brands Everleaf, Real Drinks, and Medahuman to bring together hospitality staff for a discussion for one of the events.
Rémy Martin’s bunny business
Cognac brand Rémy Martin has created The Lunar New Year Family Spirit marketing campaign to celebrate Asian heritage and mark the Year of the Rabbit.
The brand has teamed up with: actor and martial artist Lewis Tan; fashion influencer Jessica Wang; Michelin-starred chef Brandon Jew; photographer Kevin Wong; and cultural entrepreneur and producer Danielle Chang, to illustrate how each of their cultures and experiences have shaped their Lunar New Year celebrations.
Rémy Martin has marked the Year of the Rabbit with the release of a limited edition XO bottle, which is available for purchase in stores across the US and at online retailers for RRP US$209.99.
Uncle Nearest backs Black universities
American whiskey brand Uncle Nearest has launched an initiative to raise US$1 million for ‘underfunded’ historically Black universities in the US.
On Martin Luther King Jr Day (16 January), the brand launched its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Old Fashioned Challenge. The programme will aim to raise money for the US’s top 58 ranked HBCUs.
HBCUs account for fewer than 3% of university institutions in the US. However, they enrol 10% of all African American students, and produce nearly 20% of all African American graduates.
Until 31 March, consumers will be able to take part in the HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge in four ways. See oldfashionedcocktail.com.
Seventy One glows
Ultra-premium gin brand Seventy One has teamed up with luxury candle maker Trudon to create a gift box for Valentine’s Day (14 February).
The limited edition ‘ultimate evening at home’ gift box contains a 700ml bottle of Seventy One Gin, and six Ernesto taper candles. Seventy One Gin was founded by London-based fashion director Mert Alas, and was inspired by the art of perfumery.
Alas said: “As one of the oldest and most revered candlemakers in the world, Trudon shares my relentless passion for perfection.”
The gin is created with botanicals such as juniper, angelica, lemon, damask rose, grapefruit and cinchona.
The Seventy One Gin Feu de Nuit gift box can be bought from seventyonegin.com.