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Issue 18 - Whisky on the rock cakes

Whisky Magazine Issue 18
September 2001


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Whisky on the rock cakes

John Haydock gets the call to help design and build a visitor centre where whisky souvenirs sell like hot cakes... and rolls ... and bread ... and scones ... and so on

It all started on a Monday morning with a phone call from my industry chum Rupert. On his scrambled private mobile line, no less, from the first class BA lounge at Heathrow. “Listen”, he said, “do you remember the Latin American advertising campaign you helped us with last year?” Well, how could I forget ?

It was one of my less successful adventures in the world of Scotch advertising: I had found myself locked in a creative brainstorming session in a Hoxton bunker with two skateboarding morons, Josh and Jezza. We were working on a brief to promote deluxe blended Scotch to young fashionable early-adopters, whilst retaining and emphasising core product values and truths. I was there (naturally) to represent product and truth; Josh and Jezza (collective age somewhere in the region of 27) were there for the youth and fashion angle. And quite possibly adoption. The final outcome of the campaign had never been clear to me, but as I commented to Rupert, the combination of explicit sex and horses didn't really seem to fit with heather and tartan. So the whole campaign had been pulled. With two months to go before the end of the financial year Rupert had a small fortune that had to be spent. “So we're going to build another bloody Visitor Centre on Speyside and I want you to get down to the designers, pronto. Sorry, got to rush, flight has been called...”

Two days later I was ushered into the palatial London offices of society designer Quentin Deacead, or Mr Dick, as ...

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