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Top marketing campaigns and news: October-November

Bollinger marks 40-year James Bond partnership with £4,500 magnum

Champagne Bollinger has marked its 40th year in partnership with James Bond by launching two wines: a £4,500 Moonraker magnum and Eric Berthes-designed gift box and a No Time To Die-inspired bottle.

The first bottle of Bollinger appeared alongside 007 in 1979 with the release of Moonraker. Since then, the association has gone on to inspire numerous limited edition products, with the Bollinger cooperage also home to a collection of vintage Bond posters.

To mark the 2019 milestone, the Champagne house has released two wines, one inspired by the 1979 film and the other by the latest in the Bond franchise – No Time To Die – which will be released next year.

WSET celebrates 50 years to the day with lavish feast

A lavish dinner was held at Vintners Hall in London last month to celebrate the 50th birthday of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET).

Founded on 17 October 1969, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust marked 50 years of service with a dinner for almost 150 leading members of the wine trade at the Vintners’ Hall in the heart of London. Master Vintner, Christopher Davey, who gave a quick record of the WSET’s past, said the trust was born out of the Wine Trade Club, which was formed in 1908 by writer and merchant André Simon, and ran lectures until 1955, when the Wine and Spirit Association took over. He said since its launch 50 years ago, WSET “”s now an international brand of serious education.”

In 2018, 100,000 people studied with WSET in 75 countries, with the body providing courses in 18 languages.

WSET CEO, Ian Harris, said the group had come a long way since its inception. “In the first year of the WSET diploma there were no women, now we are 50:50,” he said, adding that “seven out of the last 10 Vintners’ Cup winners have been females”.

WSET international development manager, David Wrigley MW, chose the wines for the dinner, which included Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV, Meursault-Charmes Premier Cru from Burgundy, Henri Germain, 2011, Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, 2006, and Warre’s Vintage Port 1985.

Jim Beam lists on Airbnb

How much do you love whiskey? Enough to wake up right next to a still house?

Jim Beam has listed a property in its grounds on Airbnb, giving Bourbon fans the chance to stay at its Clermont site for the same price as a bottle of Jim Beam Black. From 21 October, Airbnb users will be able to book stays at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse. Guests must be aged over 21 to stay in the property, which was built in 1919 and overlooks Everbach lake.

Priced at US$23 (£18) a stay, guests are able to tour the distillery, take part in a Bourbon tasting and sample a classic Kentucky barbecue meal.

Fred Noe, Jim Beam’s seventh-generation master distiller and Airbnb property host, said: “There’s no better time to experience Bourbon country than during the cool, crisp months of fall, so we’re welcoming Bourbon fans to join the Beam family during an overnight stay at our home in the rolling hills of Kentucky.

“We like to say that anyone who visits us comes as friends and leaves as family, so we’re thrilled to welcome our extended family for some Bourbon and Kentucky hospitality.”

The stillhouse, which can be booked for a maximum of six guests, boasts three bedrooms, “two and a half” bathrooms, a fully-stocked bar, a fireplace and fishing docks. A limited number of dates will be available on a first-come-first-served basis, which can be booked through to the end of the year.

Amazon live-streams Scotch whisky tasting in UK first

Master Blender Stephanie Macleod led the tasting

Jim Beam wasn’t the only whisk(e)y maker tapping into tech this month. Scotch distillery group John Dewar & Sons is trying to attract new, younger consumers by streaming a whisky tasting on Amazon.

The tasting session, hosted by malt master Stephanie McLeod (pictured) and Financial Times drinks writer Alice Lascelles, was recorded in real-time from the Aberfeldy Distillery, in the UK and Germany.

To take part, consumers had to buy the group’s Single Malt Discovery Collection, priced at £40 on Amazon. The collection includes three 200ml bottles of Scotch including: Aberfeldy 12 Years Old, Aultmore 12 Years Old and Craigellachie 13 Years Old, all bottled at 46% ABV.

The tasting, which streamed on 24 October at 7:30pm GMT, was Amazon’s first live event in the UK. It is also the spirits group’s first foray into live streaming, which it hopes will “educate new and existing whisky drinkers on Scotch”. The pair also held Q&A sessions, where viewers could submit questions direct to the hosts – another ‘first’ for an Amazon livestream event.

They were joined by Aberfeldy’s brand home ambassador, Matthew Cordiner.

This is not the first time a Scotch producer has used Amazon to appeal to a wider audience.

In January, drinks giant Diageo debuted an Amazon Alexa “skill” for its Talisker whisky brand, encouraging Amazon users to buy the whisky then learn more about its production using voice-activated technology.

Henkell Freixenet cashed in on The Great British Bake Off final

(Photo: Channel 4)

Sparkling wine brand Freixenet has been targeting fans of reality TV in the UK this year with sponsorships.

Freixenet, owned by sparkling wine super-group Henkell Freixenet since 2018, aired its first prime time TV ad campaign for many years on Tuesday 29 October during the final of this year’s Great British Bake Off.

The finale was watched by an average live audience of 6.9 million viewers, according to overnight figures. This is down on the 7.5 million people who tuned in to last year’s finale live, and less than half of the anticipated 15 million Freixenet said it hoped to reach, but overnight figures don’t include catch-up services.

The brand made its TV advertising debut in the UK this year by sponsoring the new series of Channel 4’s Don’t Tell The Bride, spending £400,000 on a tie-in with the show on E4, which will ran for 10 weeks from 1 September.

Patrón starts selling on Instagram

In more Gen Z news, Tequila brand Patrón has become the first alcoholic drinks brand that you can order via photo sharing app Instagram.

The pioneering brand partnered with social video agency MikMak to allow adult Instagram users in 48 US states to buy bottles of Patrón by swiping up on an advert in Instagram Stories.

The purchases are processed by third-party partners Drizly, Instacart and ReserveBar. To ensure the brand isn’t sold to minors, buyers will have their IDs scanned when the product is delivered to them.

Two Instagram Stories adverts, which people can buy Patrón through, focus on Tequila education. The move is illustrative of Instagram’s evolution into becoming a shopping platform as well as a photo sharing app.

“For us, it’s really about using modern tech to tell a handcrafted story,” Adrian Parker, Patrón’s global vice-president of marketing, told Ad Week.

“We’re a Tequila company and not a technology company. This is just the beginning, one little step into the future of how you’ll engage with spirit brands,” he added.

MikMak provides Patrón with insights into who is swiping on the ad and their average order value. “Instagram is becoming the new digital shelf. It’s where product discovery is happening, and not just around fashion and beauty,” said MikMak’s founder, Rachel Tipograh.

Bulleit Whiskey unveils $250 3D-printed trainers

Diageo-owned Bourbon brand Bulleit has collaborated with Dallas-based street artist Kyle Steed and design firm Tangible Creative on a limited edition run of 3D printed trainers, priced at US$250 a pair.

The footwear, believed to be the “first of their kind”, took more than 200 hours to develop, with the design inspired by Steed’s interpretation of what it means to be “on the frontier of culture”.

The shoes were unveiled last week at the Bulleit 3D Printed Frontier Experience in Dallas, complete with 3D printed bar, 3D printed cocktails and live mural painting.

The bar was created in collaboration with architects FAR and 3D fabrication specialists at Machine Histories. The cocktails, meanwhile, were developed by Print A Drinks’ Benjamin Greimel.

The trainers are available to purchase online from Sneaker Politics for US$250 a pair.

Molson Coors targets Gen Z drinkers with limited edition Jonas Brothers beer

US beer giant Molson Coors is releasing a limited edition six-pack of Coors Light brewed by the Jonas Brothers.

During their time in Colorado on their sold out Happiness Begins tour, the Jonas Brothers made a stop at the Coors Brewery in Golden to help create heir own batch in partnership with the beer group.

The bottles, which feature a custom label that nods to the brothers’ album art, will be available for fans to purchase in from mid-November in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Nashville and Tampa.

“We are long-time fans of Coors Light and were really excited to be invited out to the Coors brewery,” the Jonas Brothers said in an emailed statement.

“We can’t wait for our fans to try the limited edition six-packs of Coors Light that we helped to brew. And it’s pretty amazing that our faces are on the iconic mountains on the bottle.”

“We loved hosting Kevin, Joe and Nick out at the Coors Brewery. It’s exciting to see how they make Coors Light part of their life moments both big and small,” David Coors, president of AC Golden Brewing, said.

Ron Swanson launches whisky with Lagavulin

Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman has launched his own whisky in partnership with Diageo-owned Scotch brand Lagavulin.

Lagavulin has unveiled a limited edition, 11-year-old whisky as part of its ongoing partnership with Offerman, which first began in 2014.

“I have spent countless hours parsing the alchemy for a new, limited-edition whisky with Lagavulin Distillery Manager Colin Gordon. Together, we have concocted a most edifying nectar – Lagavulin Offerman Edition Aged 11 Years,” Offerman said in a statement from Diageo.

“‘Carrying the signature Lagavulin Islay Single Malt peatiness with sweet berry and orchard fruit notes, this Scotch Whisky is for those who adore Lagavulin’s patented smoky flavour and the patience required to masterfully distill a Single Malt’ is what they told me to say, but I would rather just tell you that I am giggling with delight at the notion of people enjoying this limited-edition Scotch.”

Offerman and his P&R character Ron Swanson are well known for their love of Lagavulin. The collaboration between Lagavulin and Offerman began in 2014 with the launch of the My Tales of Whisky series.

The Lagavulin Offerman Edition Aged 11 Years has an RRP of $74.99, and will be available in retailers the U.S from November until stocks last.

The star has also worked with Lagavulin on the latest instalment of the My Tales of Whisky series. The series follows Offerman’s education in the world of whisky, from the role of peat in Scotch to barrel-making.

Portman Group upholds complaint against ‘irresponsible’ cider branding

Drinks regulating body the Portman Group has told retailers not to sell a cider from Newquay because its packaging seems to “irresponsibly” play on suicide.

Called “Suicyder”, the cider is made by The Bearded brewery in Newquay, and comes in at a high 7.8% ABV.

The product name ‘Suicyder’ also appeared in combination with a human skull, a noose and the wording “juice from the noose”.

A member of the public submitted a complaint to Portman, arguing that the wording and imagery, along with the relatively high alcoholic content, makes a “clear association between their cider and the dangerous act of suicide.”

The complainant said the packaging was “reckless and dangerous in the extreme”.

The company had stated in its defence that the noose was meant to reflect the owner’s previous career as a tree surgeon, where a noose was used to dismantle unsafe trees.

The Bearded Brewery also pointed to previous partnerships with charities, which included contributions to Rotary, Lions and Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).

However, the panel said consumer would have to understand this inside knowledge to “displace the main connotation portrayed by the product name and imagery on the front label and that most consumers would be unaware of this link.”

Discounters recruit Masters of Wine for tasting classes

Discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl have both launched UK-wide experiential marketing campaigns for their wine ranges to prove that they are as good as any other retailers’ in the run-up to Christmas.

Lidl is running two-day wine pop-up blind tastings in London, Manchester and Glasgow this month, which will take place entirely in the dark and cost consumers less than £5.

The Chateaux Noir tasting opened on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 November at 46 Great Titchfield Street, Soho, London – and will travel to the Deansgate Underground Arches, Manchester on 16 and 17 November, before heading to Glasgow’s Argyle Street Arches on 23 and 24 November.

The Lidl Chateaux Noir event, which is being hosted by Lidl’s consultant, Richard Bampfield MW, is designed to prevent people judging the wine on the bottle and “put snobbery aside”, and will include eight wines from the range. It features a ‘discombobulation chamber’ – a room designed to trick the senses through a false sense of scale and garish, candy cane-striped walls – and a Cellar Noir, where the 40-minute blind tasting will take place, complete with waiters in night-vision goggles.

Aldi, meanwhile, is launching an online wine course for shoppers comprising a free-to-download online course and tutorial, which it says will make the wine aisle “less baffling” for consumers. While the app is free to download, the tutorial is based around its Wine Discovery cases, which can be bought online for around £110. The course is made up of six wine modules and six video tutorials featuring the retailer’s wine consultant, Sam Caporn MW.

Selfridges gets robot bartender operating in the basement

At the other end of the retail spectrum, upscale department store Selfridges has unveiled its new bartender – a robot called Toni, which it claims is the world’s first automated cocktail maker.

The retailer says the new bartender from Italian smart tech company, Makr Shakr, is set to liven up the shopping experience for retailers at its flagship store on London’s Oxford Street, by allowing users to experience smart technology while shopping. It is part of a collaboration with drinks giant Bacardi.

The Makr Shakr has two mechanical arms that can prepare and serve cocktails in seconds – whether shaken, stirred or muddled, which shoppers can choose via a mobile app. The app allows them to swipe through a list of pre-made classic cocktails and mocktails recipes, or they can create their own customised cocktails.

It is currently on show in Selfridges new 200 square metre lower ground floor expansion, which is devoted to smart tech. Emanuele Rossetti, CEO of Makr Shakr, said consumers will become mixologists themselves via the Makr Shakr app.

“This way, people will leave the store with a drink and a lasting experience,” he said. Makr Shakr was launched in 2014 by Carlo Ratti Associati before being spun out as an independent company.

Other robo-bars can be found in Las Vegas, France, and Italy.

Celebrities to be banned from alcohol packaging in South Korea

The South Korean government is seeking to ban local distilleries from using images of celebrities on bottles and cans to promote their products.

As reported by Korea Times, South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare is looking to enforce the ban in a bid to stop glamourising the consumption of alcohol.

The current law allows photos of celebrities to appear on bottles of soju, beer and other drinks packaging – a trend that has proved lucrative for local stars.

The ban comes after the South Korea government faced criticism for its lax attitude towards drinking in comparison to smoking. Cigarette packets now come with health warnings but little has been done to prevent the glamourisation of drinking.

Veuve Clicquot teams up with St Vincent

Champagne house Veuve Clicquot will team up with with singer-songwriter St Vincent on a pop-up bar “with a difference” in London’s Covent Garden this month.

Dubbed ‘Souvenir’, the bar will be open from 22-23 November and will represent the “creative vision” of St Vincent (aka Annie Clark).

“Part speakeasy, part sensory space” the bar is meant to “celebrate” the pleasure of drinking Champagne – with a slightly “surreal” twist – and a host of creators, designers and mixologists have been assembled to realise the proposed design.

Veuve Clicquot has previously collaborated with FKA twigs, Tom Dixon and Carine Roitfield on similar projects.


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