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Top drinks marketing campaigns and news: December

Bacardi x Michael B. Jordan

Last month, rum maker and drinks giant Bacardi released a series of short films co-directed by actor Michael B. Jordan, promoting its premium range.

The film, Angels Share, is the first digital advert created for Bacardi’s premium rum range, which launched last year.

“This is an exciting time for rum, and as a rum guy, I knew I had to be a part of this project,” Jordan said. “I think rum is timeless. It’s always been there and it’s always been consistent.”

Click here to watch the video.

Ryan Reynolds x Aviation Gin

Actor and owner of Aviation Gin, Ryan Reynolds, tried his hand at a marketing video last month, talking viewers through the gin’s production process, which includes four hours of silent mediation, an ordination by the Unitarian Church and citrus fruits misted with his tears.

In the video, the Canadian-born actor stated: “I take my responsibilities as owner of Aviation Gin seriously. This does not extend to our marketing, however, which I take as un-seriously as humanly possible”.

He then went on to explain the “production process” which he said begins each morning at 4am with the distilling team engaging in four hours of silent meditation…

Click here to watch the video.

Seedlip x Virgin Atlantic

Seedlip founder, Ben Branson

Non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ brand Seedlip announced an exclusive partnership with Virgin Atlantic last month that will see its drinks served on board Sir Richard Branson’s airline.

The partnership will see Seedlip served on board all Virgin Atlantic flights in its Upper Class, Premium and Economy cabins, while Seedlip cocktails will also be on pour at Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse lounges.

The deal makes Virgin Atlantic the first airline to serve Seedlip at 35,000 feet. A special menu of No & Low alcohol cocktails has been created for Upper Class flights and the lounges as part of Seedlip’s ‘N o l o’ concept.

“I’m so proud to be partnering with the Virgin Atlantic team to offer grown up alcohol free serves to passengers who are looking for proper adult options when they’re travelling,” said Seedlip’s founder, Ben Branson.

Jon Cena x Skyy Vodka

John Cena has been working with SkyyVodka since November

Wrestler and actor John Cena released the latest in a series of promotional ads for vodka brand Skyy last month.

Cena was named as a brand ambassador to SKYY Vodka in November, and has repeatedly appeared in its “Proudly American” campaign.

In his latest appearance, he recreated the famous ‘king of the world’ moment from James Cameron’s 1997 film Titanic while sharing his ‘thoughts’.

In the advert, entitled “Thoughts”, Cena stands on the bow of a Titanic-style ship, where he raises a glass to “Life, Liberty, and the American Spirit,” before re-enacting the film’s famous “flying” pose.

Click here to watch the video.

Chris Noth x Ambhar Tequila

Chris Noth and db editor Lucy Shaw.

At the Tequila brand’s first tasting in London last month, owner and Sex and the City star Chris Noth revealed he believes Ambhar is “better” than fellow actor George Clooney’s Casamigos brand.

Promoting the brand at an event at Boisdale in Belgravia, Noth said: “Casamigos is a great product and is sold in a great way, but I believe Ambhar is a better Tequila as it’s richer and more complex. There’s room in the market for both.”

The American actor, known for his roles on Law & Order and The Good Wife, revealed to db that he’s planning a series of commercials for the brand that he’s due to star in, which run with the tagline: ‘Why not?’

“One of them is going to be set in a bar like Rick’s Café in Casablanca. There’s going to be a guy at the bar who’s too shy to buy a beautiful stranger a drink. Then I swoop in and slam a bottle of Ambhar on the bar and say, ‘why not?’”

Noth has taken on the role of creative director for Ambhar and is busy growing the brand in the US and UK, where it will go on sale in the spring.

Warner Edwards Gin

Northamptonshire-based distiller Warner Edwards unveiled a festive marketing campaign last month featuring hedgehogs and bottles of its rhubarb gin in an effort to boost its “farm-grown” credentials.

The hedgehog stars in a new video and billboard advertising campaign, featuring illuminated bottles of the distiller’s rhubarb gin.

Working with London-based agency Pablo, the Farm-Grown Gin activation also saw tractors lit up in fairy lights driven around the streets of London, towing billboards displaying images from the new campaign.

The activation supports charity Hedgehog Street, which helps to safeguard and conserve hedgehogs in Britain. The number of hedgehogs in the UK has fallen by a third in 10 years and the activation will support work to improve habitats through conservation and sustainability initiatives.

Commenting on the brand’s first large-scale campaign, Tom Warner said: “We began on my family farm with the things that matter most and a dream to save the world from mediocre gin.

“We ended up stripping the industry back to its roots: we became gin farmers, driven by passion and innovation. Our Farm-Grown Gin campaign brings this to life, giving our epic fans a glimpse of the natural beauty at Falls Farm.”

Cockburn’s x M Restaurants

Cockburn’s launched the ‘first ever’ Private Members’ Club for working Santas last month, offering a free Port and a comfortable spot for them to take a break from their duties this festive season.

The club was based at M Restaurants in Victoria, with the Port producer prompted to provide such a space following a survey of 100 ‘Santas’ found that 92% felt stressed while performing their yuletide duties.

Top stresses include dealing with pushy parents, the constant need to be “jolly”, and having to eat too many mince pies.

Wines of Hungary UK x Furmint February

Wines of Hungary UK announced in December that it will be launching a ‘Furmint February’ initiative in the UK this year, with the aim of celebrating the grape and bringing greater attention to it.

The campaign will begin with a Furmint tasting at 67 Pall Mall on 30 January.

Throughout February, importers and retailers will be promoting the flagship Hungarian variety with tastings, dinners and special offers.

Caroline Gilbey MW, said: “Furmint has some similarities to Riesling – able to go from bone-dry, crisp and vibrant to intensely sweet, always with its hallmark steely acidity. At the same time, it has a touch of Chardonnay’s nature about it – capable of fine sparkling wines and able to respond well to oak and malolactic fermentation to give layered, complex, almost Burgundian wines.”

The Macallan x Rob McAllan

Shoemaker Rob McAllan partnered with The Macallan last month to release a limited edition series of men’s loafers in the US, “inspired” by the Scotch whisky brand’s ‘Rare Cask’ expression.

Just 100 pairs have been made, in black and each featuring The Macallan’s famous home, Easter Elchies, stitched in gold thread.

Each pair costs US$500 and only 57 were available at the time of writing.

All proceeds from the sale of the loafers are being donated to the Folded Flag Foundation, a charity that awards educational scholarships to the spouses and children of American servicemen and women killed in action.

Diageo x Amazon

Drinks giant Diageo piloted a new Amazon Alexa Skill last month using voice-activated technology to promote its Scotch whisky brand, Talisker.

Alexa owners can ask their device to open “Talisker tasting”, and will then be asked to name one of three whiskies under the brand they want to learn more about; Talisker Skye, Talisker Storm or Talisker 10-year-old Single Malt.

Once a whisky is selected, the voice-focused advert takes consumers on an “audio journey that will educate them on how to taste Scotch,” as well as giving more information about the selected spirit.

The final stage invites the taster to ask questions about the story behind their drink or flavours of Scotch they may like to try in the future.

The prompt is age-gated, according to Diageo, which means that only users 18 and over will be able to access the advert. The new advertising format comes after a report this year found that 58% of people have used voice-search technology to find out more about a local business in 2018.

Diageo was also criticised for its marketing efforts last month after an investigation from ( found that as many as 1,700 posts by 50 Instagram influencers promoting Cîroc’s vodka and brandy ranges have violated federal advertising laws in the US.

Pol Roger x Barbarians

Pol Roger is now the official Champagne of Barbarian FC

Winston Churchill’s favourite fizz, Pol Roger, was named the official Champagne of Barbarian FC rugby football club for the 2018/19 season.

The partnership agreement is the latest in a long line of sporting collaborations for the house, which is also the official Champagne of Bath Rugby club. Barbarian FC was founded in 1890 by rugby enthusiast William Percy Carpmael at Friary Field in Hartlepool.

Pol Roger marked the start of the partnership at Barbarian FC’s first game of the season, The Killik Cup, against Argentina, held at Twickenham on 1 December.

Conker x RNLI

Dorset-based spirits producer Conker teamed up with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) last month to release a new navy strength gin, with a portion of the proceeds from its sale going towards the charity.

Conker Navy Strength Gin has an ABV of 57%, and is made using a blend of nine Botanicals: juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, oris root, casia bark, bitter orange peel, lime peel, elderberries and marsh samphire.

“I grew up on the Dorset coast and took every opportunity I had to be in the water,” said Conker founder Rupert Holloway. “The sea is extremely close to my heart, and as a result Conker Gin is distilled from marsh samphire hand-foraged from the Dorset coastline.

“There’s a perfect synergy between our two seaside brands – we are passionate about the work the RNLI undertakes and are proud to be playing a role in the RNLI’s continued independence and volunteer lifesaving.”

For every bottle of Navy Strength Gin sold, £5 will be donated to the RNLI, making a significant contribution to the charity’s vision to ‘End Preventable Loss of Life at Sea’. Since 1824 the RNLI crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,200 lives. Conker Spirit Navy Strength Gin (70cl) is available to buy at for £42.95.

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