2 Gingers Irish Whiskey Finds the Perfect Ad Characters to Act Out Famous Drink Names

Throwing a staid category on the rocks

Liquor advertising doesn't always produce the most creative advertising, thanks to legal restrictions and a tendency to skew toward the conservative. But Chicago agency VSA Partners looks to upend that truism with a new print and out-of-home campaign for 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey starring two actual gingers who happen to be based on company founder Kieran Folliard's aunt and mother. 

After purchasing the 2 Gingers business in 2012, Beam Suntory (which also owns brands ranging from Jim Beam and Maker's Mark to Sauza tequila) began a U.S. expansion that continued with the selection of VSA as a new agency partner last fall. 

The agency's first work for the client uses bold and at times literal imagery to tempt viewers' palates with thoughts of never-fail whiskey cocktails Big Ginger and Old Fashioned, in addition to the classic "on the rocks" treatment. 

See the ads here. Click to enlarge. 

"The whiskey world can be a pretty serious, stuffy place, with lots of old stories and leather armchairs," says Bob Winter, partner and executive creative director at VSA Partners. "So we thought Mary and Delia, the namesakes of 2 Gingers, could bring a little fresh air. Now whiskey drinkers know there's an authentic brand that takes its whiskey seriously, but never takes itself too seriously." 

The extended campaign will include out-of-home, print and social media work built on the same imagery. 2 Gingers will also build a presence in bars and retail locations via shelf displays and branded cups, trays and bar signs. 

Winter tells AdFreak: "Now that we've established these characters for the brand, there's no telling where these two fiery redheads can go. When Mary and Delia walk into a room—or pub, or onto a phone, or into a computer—things get approximately 72 percent (non-scientific number) more interesting."

For those questioning the brand's authenticity, it's true that 2 Gingers was created in Minneapolis. But Kieran Folliard is about as Irish as a man can get.