This was an exemplary integrated digital PR campaign that combined a well-defined brief with good research and planning, data-led channel selection and excellent creative execution, as well as a rigorous approach to measurement. The judges were particularly impressed with the blending of classic earned media tactics with a clever use of digital activity to deliver real value. Notably, the selection and use of influencers was rooted in data rather than arbitrary criteria. Ongoing tracking and measurement were integral to the implementation as well as providing evidence of impact on meaningful outcomes. A worthy winner!

Finalists:

  • Biosector 2, a Syneos Health® Company and Gedeon Richter
    Be ready, whenever you’re ready
  • Ketchum UK and Fairy Non Bio
    Fairy #ToMyBaby campaign
  • London Luton Airport
    People First
  • Red Consultancy and McDonald’s UK
    Driving Downloads for My McDonald’s App
  • Third City and Bupa
    Check Your Tackle
  • Third City and Zava
    Going ‘Cold Turkey’ on Porn
  • West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
    A Tale of Safe and Well

Winner entry:

Brief, objectives and budget:

Background:

Nestled far, far away in the undulating hills of the Scottish Highlands is the beautiful Aberfeldy Distillery, which is home to Bacardi Limited’s whisky portfolio. But there are two problems – the portfolio has a relatively small presence within the category and not everyone can get to Aberfeldy to discover what makes our single malts so special…

We were tasked with raising the awareness of the company’s premium scotch whiskies through a cross channel consumer activation using PR, social media and Influence. In short, we needed to bring this premium experience to living rooms everywhere.

Our Challenge:

We knew the days of older gentlemen sipping a single malt near the fireplace are slowly fading. It’s no longer considered blasphemy to add water to your dram and we needed to convey this message to new consumers. We also understood that high price point whiskies are known to convert on the bigger e-commerce sites. Bacardi recognised that to drive scale and compete with the bigger brands, we needed to shift from consideration to conversion where it really counts – at the checkout. So how do we encourage the whisky curious to try their first dram?

  • Drive Sales of Aberfeldy and the Single Malt Discovery Collection through the Amazon platform
  • Raise awareness of the Aberfeldy brand as a premium Scotch Whisky
  • Raise awareness of Aberfeldy Distillery and use the destination to communicate the story of the Brand.

Total Budget: £47,000.

The idea, research and planning:

We needed an online retail partnership that would make us matter. Whisky is the biggest category on Amazon in the UK and Germany, however, Bacardi’s single malt portfolio has relatively low awareness. Identifying an opportunity to strengthen our commercial relationship with the retailer and introduce new whisky drinkers to the Aberfeldy brand, we approached Amazon with a proposal to host its first-ever livestreamed whisky tasking at the Aberfeldy distillery so we could bring its whisky to every corner of the UK and DE, without consumers leaving their living rooms. As the biggest player in this space, whose integrated approach to omnichannel marketing allowed us to effectively operate across paid, earned and owned – we were able to track ROI across all segments of the campaign. In partnership, Amazon’s first-ever UK livestream whisky tasting gave us the opportunity to educate new and existing whisky drinkers on Scotch, raise awareness of the stunning Aberfeldy distillery and innovate within ecommerce.

Strategy, creativity and innovation:

Ahead of the livestream, the Single Malt Discovery Collection, a limited-edition set of three, single malt whiskies, was made available exclusively for Amazon UK and DE.

Consumers could purchase the whiskies in preparation to join from the comfort of their own homes. The set was sold at a slightly lower price point to other whisky gift packs, to provide an affordable and accessible entry point to single malts.

To drive sales of the Single Malt Discovery Collection, we initiated a PR campaign across the UK and Germany targeting national, regional and lifestyle media including titles like Forbes and Robb Report, utilising key spokespeople for interviews and taking advantage of Christmas gifting opportunities across print and online media.

As this was an activation that lived online, to recruit new drinkers into the brand and convert to purchase, we needed to fill social media feeds with beautiful and delicious content that changed people’s perception of who a whisky drinker is while making them thirsty. We recruited three lifestyle influencers across the UK and Germany who could entertain and educate a broader lifestyle audience on Scotch and raise awareness of the Aberfeldy Distillery as a destination. Once recruited, we sent them on a voyage of discovery – the road to Aberfeldy Distillery.

Delivery/implementation of tactics:

The campaign was planned with all partners in close collaboration, from initial influencer teaser content, to last-chance-to-buy messaging around Prime delivery and retargeting on the day of the live stream with paid media. The user’s journey was seamless across the marketing mix.

As our influencers embarked on their journey to Aberfeldy, they were met by personalised vintage Land Rovers, picnic hampers and authentic Scotsmen (kilts included) to enjoy a whisky on the hills of Aberfeldy. Earned content opportunities were endless, but influencers were also briefed to create long-form video content which would celebrate the journey. Using story content throughout the voyage, influencers could build anticipation for the livestream event that would take place the same evening. To build brand love and showcase Aberfeldy as a destination, influencers spent the next day touring the distillery with our Aberfeldy brand ambassador, becoming experts in the golden dram.

Ahead of the livestream and to drive transaction, we worked with our influencers to create pre-event content, focusing on their upcoming adventures to the distillery, encouraging consumers to get involved from their own homes by buying their own tasting set (and thus directly driving sales). All content had its own unique tracking link to prove sales from each content point. We were then able to retarget those who landed on the bespoke landing page, allowing the influencers’ audiences to be re-served direct call-to-buy ad-based content. In the 48 hours before the whisky tasting, influencers re-engaged their audiences with ‘last-chance-to-buy’ content to take advantage of Prime.

The whole campaign was supported by earned media coverage, highlighting the industry first, engaging with existing whisky appreciators and attracting new ones, and supporting their journey pre, during and post livestream.

Measurement, evaluation and impact:

Drive Sales of Aberfeldy and the Single Malt Discovery Collection through the Amazon platform:

  • 94% increase in revenue on the day of the livestream
  • 129% increase in bottles sold, showing transaction uplift across the brand, not just the limited-edition pack
  • On Amazon DE, we were the best-selling whisky across “new whiskies”
  • Number 2 and number 5 best-selling whisky on Amazon throughout the campaign period.

Raise awareness of the Aberfeldy brand as a premium Scotch Whisky:

  • 27,000 people watched the livestream, submitting over 500 questions during the event
  • 76 million true reach across 28 pieces of premium and lifestyle coverage
  • 5 million homepage banner impressions through Amazon
  • 350% increase in brand impressions on the day of the livestream
  • 44% increase in brand searches.

Raise awareness of Aberfeldy Distillery and use the destination to communicate the story of the Brand:

  • 362% over delivery in influencer content which included reference to the destination itself, Aberfeldy Distillery, which is open to the public.