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How powerful is whisky advertising?

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How powerful is whisky advertising?

Postby Iain » Mon Feb 26, 2007 11:43 am

The advertising guru David Ogilvy made a pretty penny in his day, devising very successful campaigns for booze. In his book "Ogilvy on Advertising" (London, 1983) p14 he made his view re the purchasing habits of whisk(e)y drinkers pretty clear:

"It isn't the whiskey they choose, it's the advertising. The brand image is 90 per cent of what the distiller has to sell."
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Feb 26, 2007 11:49 am

I suppose that makes sense. I doubt everyone who drinks whisky worldwide gives it much thought and will go for the perceived popular marques. I would suspect that most advertising will be prepared for Blends. Can't remember seeing many SMW adverts other than in Whisky Mag. and a couple of TV camapigns for the ubiquitous Glens morangie and fiddich around christmas time.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:28 pm

For the General Market this is so true. WHy are JD, J W and Jameson so popular and the biggest sellers in their classes?

It is mainly because they have ploughed millions into advertising and have pushed to be come world brand names.

Of course thet had a product that ppealed at the same time but Advertising plays the biggest role in the developement of a brand. And Jameson is testement to that over the past 3 years. Through agressive advertising campaigns it has now joined the big boys of the Whiskey world after surpassing the 2million case mark and double figure sales growth every year in the last 3 years. So I put it all down to advertising as these brands may not necessarily be the pinnacle of their trade.

Basically that is the simple reality.
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Postby Dan G » Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:02 am

I quite often see ads for Canadian whiskys such as Crown Royal, and assume they probably work for the person who just wants to have a bottle in the house for a shot after work or when friends drop by. And, though it might sound cynical, people who buy it to mix and people who drink rye and coke in bars but seldom have whisky at home, on hand.

But for single malt afficianados, such as people who participate in these forums, it seems useless. Advertising can bring a buyer to a brand, and they might stick with that brand, but those of us here aren't really brand loyal. So yes, we might see an ad for something and buy it, but next bottle will be something different anyway. Really, I think it only works to introduce a new release - but we'd find out about it anyway.

The only single malts I see advertised are occassionally something will be in wine/food magazines I read, but those are probably just targeted at the occassional buyer again - wine drinkers who might like to have a whisky in the house. The most common ad I see is in the Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper - they frequently have an ad for Balvenie (Double Wood I think...). Probably works really well for those casual buyers - an exec reading the paper on his way home from work, thinking of stopping at the vendor's for a bottle...
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:14 am

I dont think I've ever seen an advertisement for Port Ellen, yet lately that's what I've been purchasing :P

Ardbeg commercials are nice though - but so is the whisky!
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Postby vitara7 » Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:45 am

makes me buy the stuff ;)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:28 am

There is more to advertising than twenty second films on TV. There is the shelf presence, the look of the bottle, the wording of the label, the "image", the name, the gimmick finish, etc...

And usually, the distiller doesn't just need to advertise to you, but also the shop from which you buy your whisky.

My guess is that we are all influenced greatly by advertising - and influenced mist by the advertising we don't even notice. Anyone who claims never to be influenced by advertising is either a liar or a fool.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:40 am

When I first saw this discussion yesterday, I had a look around for another one I remember which discussed how much we feel we may be influenced by bottle, label and overall presentation (brand advertising), but unfortunately I couldn't find it which is sad because there were also some good points to be found there.

Advertising puts a certain brand and image into our minds and I believe this greatly influences people who don't already know that brand, to go out and try it.
This whole brand image idea is about exactly that - IMAGE.
Whether one of quality, value, age, style ....... what you see from the bottle shape, size and colour along with the labels and packaging is all designed specifically to give you an image.
But it is still my own opinion that although this image is almost totally responsible for helping someone initially choose a whisky, if the whisky is no good, they will not repeatedly buy the dram just to buy the image.

I love certain whiskies and I continue to buy them because I like them, not because of an 'image'. But yes, maybe that image originally tempted me to try them.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:11 am

MT - I agree with your points about image, and don't disagree that people won't come back to a product that they don't like. Hence the deaths of the Singleton of Auchoisk and Loch Dhu. But even to a seasoned drinker, advertising will potentially make you buy a bottle when you might otherwise not. For example, did you buy Oogling, Quarter Cask, or any of the others as a result of a little e-mail from the distiller. And as a whisky vendor, how do you decide which whiskies to stock and which to avoid? Of course, we may well point to a whisky that we tried just because it was there and we'd never had it before, fell in love with it, and return to it over and again. I wouldn't say advertising influences every purchase that everyone makes. But I do believe all of us are influenced by advertising to a far greater extent than we'd care to admit to ourselves.

Advertising is not a bad thing because it makes us aware of opportunities. But we help ourselves if we understand the way it may influence our judgement.
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Postby les taylor » Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:19 pm

I don't think these companies would have a huge amount of money dedictaed to advertising if it did not work, and of course advertising is found in many forms in order to get a product or brand promoted.



:)
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:41 pm

What people need to remember about single malts is that on the grand scale of things it does not really affect the market as it is still not a major part of the market whether we like it or not eventhough it is a lucrative one. But blends are still the main man and therefore Joe public is the main target when it comes to Whisky advertising.

Here is a list of the Best selling spirits in the US There maybe one or two surprises on the Whiskey stakes. Just because Scotch is the biggest selling whisky in general it certianly does not mean they have the corner on the market when it comes to big whisk(e)y brands. (See No.7 & No. 9)

1. Smirnoff
2. Bacardi
3. Absolut
4. Jack Daniels
5. Jose Cuervo
6. Captain Morgan
7. Crown Royal
8. Hennessey
9. Johnnie Walker
10. Jim Beam


We aficionados know what we like and go for it but we also do a lot of experimenting with new single malts. Adverts for Single malts are probably aimed at us the Single Malt nutters as opposed to the Joe Public,
so whether you think it or not you are susceptible to advertising. As Nick says there is more to advertising than TV and mag ads. WHy are HP changing their bottles, not for fun anyway.

However the other 90% of the market is a massive marketing battle between all the parties.

I don't think Single malts really comes into the equation in relation to the whisky martek all that much.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:07 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:WHy are HP changing their bottles, not for fun anyway.


Indeed not :(

Although I think in this case, it might be down to a couple of young executives trying to find ways to justify their salaries.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:12 pm

Nick Brown wrote:
irishwhiskeychaser wrote:WHy are HP changing their bottles, not for fun anyway.


Indeed not :(

Although I think in this case, it might be down to a couple of young executives trying to find ways to justify their salaries.


Ahh yes, HP.
In the WL-HP Masterclass last year they justified the change as being a need for the "Glug Glug" factor.
They explained this as (a perception of) the quality image gained from an older style bottle with a wider neck which causes the "glug" sound when pouring.

Pure marketing!
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Postby Lawrence » Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:24 pm

Nick Brown wrote: . But I do believe all of us are influenced by advertising to a far greater extent than we'd care to admit to ourselves.

Advertising is not a bad thing because it makes us aware of opportunities. But we help ourselves if we understand the way it may influence our judgement.


Well said.
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Postby Leither » Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:55 pm

Some great points in the above comments and especially the fact that many forms of advertising messages can indeed be picked up subliminally.

Remember too that advertising comes in various forms - the role of any marketer, from an advertising perspective, is to draw upon a range of multi-disciplinary skills including 'above the line' promotion (TV, outdoor, press, radio) and 'below the line' (direct marketing, sponsorships, pr, online and consumer promotions).

Below are some examples of advertising of whisky through the ages:

An example of how advertising and brands were built up in the early 20th century (predominately in London and then in the US) can be learned from a visit to Dewars 'World of Whisky' at Aberfeldy. This gives great examples of how Dewars built up their brand identity through billboard advertising.

A great example of this in action today is how Macallan is being pushed globally by Maxiim as a 'prestige' brand in many above the line campaigns aimed at generating high-margin sales.

From another polarised perspective Bruichladdich with a limited marketing budget, compared to Diageo and the likes, are focusing their efforts on PR, be it rather 'quirky' press coverage or using Jim McEwan as global ambassador.

Another good example is, from another thread, Glenlivet inviting us to become 'Guardians' (I got my key through yesterday :wink: ) and both Laphroaig and Ardbeg, among many others, offering special priveleges to their members as tools to build brand loyalty.

A final example is the product placement used by Diageo in recent Bond films, another form of very discrete/tactical advertising, but again mass market.

All above are examples of fairly clever and tactical advertising that many other distillers could learn from. Indeed many modern campaigns are intentional soft-sell, warm messages to make us feel all nice about their products and relate to their brand identity and become loyal and 'entrenched' consumers of their brands.

I would point out though that above the line advertising in general is targeted at the mass consumer, rather than contributors to these forums who would be targeted by all the below-the-line stuff like memberships to societies etc.

Certainly the world of whisky advertising is a fascinating one and arguably how the whole industry was built over a century ago.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Feb 28, 2007 4:56 pm

It occurs to me that consumers of whisky, as well as about everything else, can be divided into "passive" and "active" categories. We are the active ones; we are already interested and engaged, and seek out information on our own. We welcome targeted campaigns, which are more about the whisky and less overtly image-oriented, and actually pay for masterclasses at festivals, where Angus MacNewmake of Glen Googly will spend an hour telling us about the new Wholly Mackerel Cask. We are, of course, the small minority.

The majority are the passive, and rather than pinpoint targeting, they must be flooded with waves of advertising. First, their attention has to be captured, and then, they must be sold on the idea of drinking whisky in general, and Old Snackitty Bockitty in particular. The appeal will be more emotional than intellectual. This is the kind of stuff we snicker at, and fickle fashion plays an appallingly large role, but let's face it, it's the bread and butter.

And now a question: Have you seen the ad in which people look out of two sides of a taxi and see Jack Daniel's being served, respectively, in a Rebel Biker Bar and a Black Tie Lounge (hazy memory here, but you get the gist)? JD trying to have it both ways, and perhaps appealing to the consumer's own dual nature...effective or not?
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Postby les taylor » Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:00 pm

Mr T wrote:-

We welcome targeted campaigns, which are more about the whisky and less overtly image-oriented, and actually pay for masterclasses at festivals, where Angus MacNewmake of Glen Googly will spend an hour telling us about the new Wholly Mackerel Cask.

Is this one of the master classes still to announced for London this weekednd.

I hope so I love fish.


:)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:22 pm

An hour or so ago I received a delivery of a dozen various bottles which I only ordered yesterday, so firstly well done to my supplier - an excellent service!

Secondly, some of these bottles are Glenfarclas 15y French Oak and have arrived in what can only be described as quality presentation boxes.
The boxes themsleves are probably some leather-like compound, but have a great leather-like feel. The top third of the boxes including the lids are grey suede. In combination with the burgundy leather-ishness this gives a feel of high quality and I have to say, if I saw these on a shelf I would immediately consider buying one!
Well done to the marketeers on a great image.

As it happens, I bought these because I needed that particular whisky and also without having seen the presentations first, (but if had done, I may have ordered a few more!)
MT
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Whisky adverts

Postby Muskrat Portage » Fri Mar 02, 2007 1:21 am

Over here we get no advertising for whisky on the telly and very little in the print media. Which is fine by me, as I've commented on similar threads, advertising has very little effect on my purchasing. To quote my buddy at the LC, "You don't ask for tasting notes from the guy selling the whisky"

I give the most credence to the recommendations I view here in the forums as I trust the posters for their wisdom and honesty. I also have my own personal whisky knowledge to draw on, as well as that of my chum in the business. My third preference is somone like Martine who has a great credibility as well as a common sense approach. And hey, who wouldn't respect someone that carries Islay whisky in her backpack!

They can continue to flog their product it just doesn't appeal to this Canuckistanian.

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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Mar 02, 2007 7:44 pm

Whilst sitting here contemplating a wee Port Ellen this evening I was thinking of advertising and suddenly thought of new / emerging markets.
Here on the forum we have a user in China (Beijingboyce) who is right at the forefront of whisky being introduced into a new market.

It would be interesting to hear just how much advertising is being carried out in China and also what form(s) it takes.

I wonder how effective this is and whether the brands being advertisied the most are becoming the most popular?

MT
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