Whisky Magazine Issue 37
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As whisky becomes fashionable, the battle is on for our money. Alex Meadreports on the sponsorship market
Sponsorship. It's one of those words that can mean a lot of different things to different people.
To some it brings up images of an offspring pleading for sponsor money because they're doing a car wash for charity and to others it reminds them of when they had to beg Bob the butcher to give them £200 towards a new set of shirts for the pub football team.
To whisky companies however, it takes on a whole different meaning. In an industry in which taste and experience is everything, sponsorship is perhaps the only way for a person to understand what a certain whisky is all about without even tasting it.
Whether it just be highlighting the fact it is an exclusive malt or pointing out its traditional roots, sponsorship is a serious marketing weapon.
Once upon a time, it would have been a case of handing over a few thousand pounds to an event and, in return, you'd get your name on a few posters and added to the event title.
Today, however, it's a different ball game as companies attempt to saturate us with their brands whenever we attend an event sponsored by them.
“This year we sampled 28,000 people at Cowes Week. In other words 28,000 people tried Jameson and that's a phenomenal amount,” explains Adrian Eksteen, head of marketing at Pernod-Ricard.
“Jameson sponsored one of the big events, entered a boat in a race – which won – then took out a lot of billboard advertising, so we had a big presence. And there were 500,000 people there.”
In other words, anyone w...