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Esquire's New Print Campaign Pairs Macallan Whisky With Augmented Reality

Nexus helped animate the hands-on ad

Watch Esky and Macallan's new scotch blend come to life in this ad.

Call it two worlds, one technology: Esquire, a magazine founded in 1933, is charging full steam into the 21st century with the help of The Macallan, a whisky brand founded in the 1800s. The November issue of Esquire, featuring Matthew McConaughey on the cover, contains a fun bonus: Readers can watch a Macallan whisky ad in 3-D augmented reality through the free Aurasma app. (Check out the ad below to see Esky, Esquire's mascot, come to life and pour a glass of The Macallan's new scotch blend, Double Cask 12 Years Old.) 

This could be a huge step for advertisements in the digital age, especially for print magazines trying to reach people beyond its pages.

"Inspired by an 83-year legacy, Esquire always looks to the future, rewriting the rules for a men's brand," said Jack Essig, svp and publisher of Esquire.

"The Esquire audience is a fine-spirits connoisseur," said Essig. "He is the Macallan drinker, and the Macallan drinker is the Esquire reader. The brands' points of passion weave together quite seamlessly, making this a natural pairing."

The Macallan, likewise, is rewriting the rules. "The Macallan is taking a risk with Double Cask 12 Years Old by expanding beyond the traditional 12-year sherry oak to attract new drinkers while maintaining our loyal fans," said Sam Leotta, the senior brand manager with The Macallan. "The AR execution is also a risk because we are testing a new technology and trusting that Esquires readers will take that step with us."

But AR is also a fun way to experience something new, and it brings another level of interaction to the medium of print "without losing out on the physicality of the magazine," said David Walker, the CG/VFX supervisor from Nexus, the company that animated this experience.

"Havas Media, on behalf of The Macallan, approached Esquire looking for an innovative way to launch our new scotch blend," said Leotta. "We couldn't imagine a better way to make an impact than with augmented reality."

The brand message of "Two Worlds, One Macallan" paired well with editor-in-chief Jay Fielden's updated vision of Esquire, said Essig. "Bringing the storied Esky to life through modern technology seemed a natural way to bridge worlds and decades."

"It's exciting to partner with such an iconic brand, and to be able to enter this new territory together is thrilling," said Leotta. "As a brand we are always trying to find a way to break through, and when you find a way to fully integrate in a custom way, that goes a long way with our fans."

In addition to the print component, The Macallan will take over Esquire's logo during two weeklong takeovers in a never-been-done execution on Esquire.com. A series of custom content collaborations will also be integrated into the site.

"The future is this and more, and we're excited to see what is next," said Essig.

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