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Top 10 marketing moves from December

From partnering with Formula One teams to bold out-of-home campaigns, spirit brands closed out the year in style with their marketing moves.

Four Roses marketing campaign
Brands finished the year with another big marketing month featuring plenty of celebrity involvement

Michael Bublé starred in adverts for his whiskey Fraser & Thompson, while UFC fighter Michael Chandler and comedian Ricky Gervais both decided to invest in spirits brands.

While the celebrities were active, brands were also expanding their international presences in Europe and another introduced its first US­-led national advertising campaign.

Scroll down to find out the top 10 marketing moves in December.

Missed the last few round ups? Here’s what brands were up to in October and November.

Ricky Gervais gets into spirits

Marketing moves

English comedian and actor Ricky Gervais has become a co-­owner of North Yorkshire­-based spirits producer Ellers Farm Distillery.

“I’d been looking to invest in eco­-friendly businesses for a while, and as soon as I found Dutch Barn I wanted in,” Gervais said. “I love the planet and I love a drink so it was the perfect combination.”

Ellers Farm, which is B Corp­-certified, has gained major undisclosed investment from the actor, who plans to turn its flagship brand Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka into a global brand.

“Dutch Barn really is a quality product. I love the fact that it’s done differently, and I can’t wait to let everyone know about it,” Gervais added.

Chichibu says salud to whisky

Marketing moves

Japanese producer Chichibu released a whisky aged in red wine casks, in collaboration with drinks distributor Salud Spirits.

The whisky has notes of almond cream, fudge, nougat, and candied violets on the nose, as well as malt chocolate flavours and hints of red peppercorn to taste.

Lieke van Vliet, chief commercial officer, Salud Spirits, said: “Chichibu’s Ichiro’s Malt & Grain Spirits of Salud is a celebration of craftsmanship and a tribute to the art of blending. This release represents not just a whisky but an exclusive experience that Japanese whisky enthusiasts will appreciate.”

Only 282 bottles of the 59.8% ABV whisky are available, from official Chichibu stores and specialised liquor shops in the Netherlands and Austria.

Four Roses’ mentions blow up


Kentucky Bourbon brand Four Roses has invested £400,000 (US$506,000) in its first UK advertising campaign, titled Don’t Mention It.

The marketing campaign kicked off with the reveal of a 7m spray-­painted wall in Shoreditch, London, that had been ‘vandalised’ to cover up the Four Roses brand name. The push will focus initially on London and Manchester, the UK’s two Bourbon-­selling hotspots.

The campaign aims to ‘spark a sense of discovery and stand in stark contrast’ to imagery more commonly associated with Scotch and Irish whiskey. The activation was commissioned by Four Roses’ UK distributor, Spirit Cartel.

Neft is on track with Formula One deal

Austrian Vodka brand Neft tapped into the world of Formula One racing by signing an agreement to be an official partner of the Scuderia AlphaTauri team.

The collaboration made its debut at the Last Vegas Grand Prix in November where the brand’s logo could be clearly seen on AlphaTauri AT04 cars helmed by the team’s drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda.

Neft’s CEO, Jeff Mahony, said: “Scuderia AlphaTauri is the perfect partner for Neft Vodka, as we enter the next era of our global business. Scuderia AlphaTauri provides the ultimate global stage to show the innovation and unrivalled taste of our ultra-­premium vodka.”

Frisky Panky looks to grow in Europe


Danish firm Bemakers has partnered with Frisky Panky to promote its spirits in Europe.

As part of Monkey Brands International’s portfolio, Frisky Panky has two blended Scotch whiskies, a single malt Scotch, a dry gin, and a gold rum in its range.

Bemakers will help to sell the range in seven European markets: Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Norway, and in its native Denmark. The brand has plans to expand to the UK, Spain, Finland and Switzerland.

“Inspired by the eclectic hipster subculture, Frisky Panky speaks to the trendsetters,” said Morten Stengaard, CEO and co-­founder at Bemakers. “Dive into Frisky Panky’s enigmatic array of blended Scotch whiskies, exotic rums, and daring gins. Crafted for those who traverse the path less followed, each bottle is an ode to classic sophistication with a modern twist.”

Bublé takes it easy in new ad

Singer-songwriter Michael Bublé plays the starring role in adverts for his whiskey Fraser & Thompson, which he created with master distiller and blender Paul Cirka.

The debut marketing campaign – named Easy, Now – features two video adverts F&Tea, and Fun and Tingly, a play on the initials of Fraser & Thompson.

Bublé said: “I like whiskey but, let’s be honest, not everybody does. So, I worked with my friend Paul Cirka to develop a liquid respected by whiskey lovers, and enjoyed by those who may not be whiskey drinkers. I would consider this the crowning achievement of a legendary career, but I’m far too young for that kind of talk. Easy, now.”

The adverts will be shown on TV, online, through retail advertising and via an out-­of-­home placement in New York’s Times Square.

Chivas Regal strikes gold in the US


Scotch brand Chivas Regal has launched its first US­-led national advertising campaign, titled United is the New Gold.

The advert highlights the brand’s belief in the power of connection and shared success, and features a 30­-second TV spot shot in black and gold, soundtracked by the Bill Withers song Just the Two of Us, in which ants are used as an analogy of a supportive modern­-day couple.

The marketing campaign will roll out across streaming TV, online video, digital and out­-of­-home, in key markets such as Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City. The launch will also coincide with the release of Chivas XV in the US, a 15­-year-­old blended whisky aged in Cognac casks, available at retailers nationwide for US$49.99.

Diageo prioritises accessibility

Diageo brands J&B and Smirnoff have underlined the importance of inclusion in spirits through two campaigns made in honour of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which took place on 3 December.

Scotch whisky J&B launched its Mi Gran Noche (My Big Night) in Spain, which showed the barriers people with disabilities face when it comes to socialising. Vodka brand Smirnoff, meanwhile, launched the next phrase of its We Do We inclusion campaign, which highlighted ways to make the social settings where people drink more accessible.

The campaign was spearheaded by an event in London featuring disability advocate and comedian Fats Timbo and Drag Syndrome, a drag collective of people with Down syndrome.

Stephanie Jacoby, Smirnoff global brand director, said: “We aim to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to come together.”

Latin Gin expands European presence

US brand Latin Gin has bolstered its availability in Europe, now delivering its products to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, France, and Italy, through an e-­commerce store.

The gin is made in the foothills of the Italian Alps with a blend of botanicals including Italian lemons and strawberries, Ecuadorian passion fruit, rose, hibiscus, elderflower, Calabrian peppers, Brazilian limes, Tuscan juniper berries, and oranges from Argentina.

Nick Kuelbs, Latin Gin’s president, said: “The strong consumer demand across Europe, following our success in the UK, Spain, and the US, has inspired us to expand further.”

Hiatus Tequila has fighting spirit

Michael Chandler (right) with Hiatus Tequila founder Kristopher DeSoto

Tequila brand Hiatus has partnered with Ultimate Fighting Championship star Michael Chandler (right in photo) as it looks to boost its profile.

With Chandler’s support, Hiatus founder Kristopher De Soto (left in photo) hopes he will amplify the brand’s awareness among both the mixed martial arts (MMA) fan base and Tequila drinkers.

He said: “We’re excited for the opportunity to connect to his audience and to introduce our brand to MMA-­loving Tequila fans whom we’ve not yet encountered in our relatively short existence.”

Chandler’s investment will also go beyond financial boosts, with the fighter’s involvement including event appearances to promote the brand and helping to develop marketing campaigns.

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