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Food and beverage

Glenfiddich clears up whisky stereotypes to woo next generation of drinkers

June 16, 2016

Glenfiddich Bourbon Barrel Reserve 14 Year Old Glenfiddich Bourbon Barrel Reserve 14 Year Old


Scotch whisky maker Glenfiddich is looking to clear up some of the misunderstandings around bourbon through a digital campaign.

“Rethink Whisky,” the first campaign created by the brand’s digital agency of record Rokkan, challenges preconceived notions of the spirit by placing it in scenes that may be unexpected, such as an aunt’s living room or a barbecue. Reaching out to the next generation, the campaign uses humor and emotion to entice a new audience for its spirits.

Multinational malt
All of Glenfiddich’s videos focus on its newly introduced Bourbon Barrel Reserve 14 Year Old.

Bourbon is typically associated with the United States, and particularly Kentucky, a notion that Glenfiddich seeks to shake up in the film “Scotland, KY.” As a bottle pours out into a lowball glass, a male voiceover asks, “Think America’s next big whisky is from Kentucky?”

This serves to differentiate Glenfiddich’s bourbon, which is Scotch whisky aged in American oak casks and barrels. The brand says the resulting spirit has “the heart of an American bourbon but the soul of a single malt Scotch whisky.”

"Glenfiddich Bourbon Barrel Reserve 14 Year Old is bold, elegant and delicious, but it's also different from your traditional Scotch whisky," said Michael Giardina, Glenfiddich senior brand manager, in a brand statement. "We wanted this campaign to challenge stereotypes about single malt Scotch and introduce Glenfiddich to a new generation of whisky drinkers."

The short “Scotch with Dad” appeals to millennials, asking them how they would feel if their dad looked up to them instead of the other way around. As a man sands an acoustic guitar, his daughter approaches him at his workstation, setting down two glasses and pouring out bourbon for them both.

Glenfiddich 14 | Rethink Whisky | Scotch with Dad

At the end of the video, the voiceover reads the campaign’s tagline, “Introducing the smooth sophistication of Scotland with the sweet kick of Kentucky.

“Aunt Evie” covers the notes of vanilla, brown sugar and apples that linger within the bourbon, joking that they are not only flavors in the aunt’s cobbler. The conservatively dressed aunt then pours a glass of bourbon for herself.

A fourth film, “Pairings” tackles the idea that bourbon is only suitable for white glove dinners by placing it in the middle of a backyard barbecue.

Glenfiddich Mint Julep

Glenfiddich's digital campaign suggests making a Mint Julep, the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, with its bourbon

Glenfiddich’s films are live on the brand’s Web site and social media channels. The campaign, which runs through July, will also feature display advertising and a social media conversation driven by the hashtag #RethinkWhisky.

"It was important to reach future Scotch drinkers on digital platforms, because that is where they're spending the majority of their time," said John Noe, CEO/co-founder of Rokkan. "With rich cinematography and subtly humorous performances that reflect the beauty and character of Glenfiddich Bourbon Barrel Reserve 14 Year Old, the 'Rethink Whisky' films will make people excited to try something new."

Glenfiddich's campaign reflects its recent move to portray itself as a luxury brand.

When a company wants to establish itself as a luxury brand, sometimes everything but the product needs to be changed, according to a Glenfiddich executive at Luxury Interactive Europe 2015.

Glenfiddich is a single malt Scotch distiller owned by William Grant & Sons, which dates back to 1887, but only recently has the brand moved to position itself as luxury. Working from the quality and heritage already present, Glenfiddich is altering packaging and positioning to make itself stand out from competitors (see story).