Generally, whisky advertising follows a fairly predictable pattern. Think of sweeping shots of the Scottish Highlands and reverently told tales of ancestral passing-on of the craft as someone stares longingly into a tumbler of brown liquid. Or, a brand may just hire Conor McGregor. Regardless, there is interchangeability in the way whisky is marketed, making it almost impossible to differentiate brands.
For its part, Glenmorangie has taken a completely different approach in a beautiful, quirky and vibrant new campaign shot by famed photographer Miles Aldridge. Reimagining six everyday experiences as wonderful moments, the work by DDB Paris is crafted, cinematic and pops with its technicolor palette. It’s anchored by 60-second and 30-second spots, and several bespoke visuals.
The theme and its tagline, “It’s kind of delicious and wonderful,” is a highly accessible approach to a segment of alcohol marketing that can come across as stodgy and borderline unwelcoming. Scenes like a train journey, a bubble bath, a camping trip or playing the piano are now whimsical amuse-bouches that open up a world of possibility for the Scottish single malt brand.
While one could argue that the campaign is a visual portmanteau of a Target ad and a Wes Anderson film, Louise Dennett, global head of brand at Glenmorangie, noted that growth in the category comes from a younger, more diverse audience.
“Doing this research, Bill Lumsden, our whisky creator, was perplexed around the fact that people were saying that they needed to ‘learn’ whisky before appreciating it,” she said. “He said that he works hard to create something that people can enjoy, with the goal of being delicious first. We thought being less intimidating and more playful is a nice counter to what’s out there.”
The brand leans heavily on the color orange for its branding. The color pops within a kaleidoscope, never overtaking the narrative but clearly articulating that it’s an essential part of Glenmorangie. Creatively, according to DDB Paris ecd Alexander Kalchev, the agency knew that it could effectively avoid single malt tropes and have some fun. After submitting well over 100 ideas, they landed on this approach.
“The visuals evoke delight and pleasure,” said Kalchev. “And this strips away the self-reverence and introduces fun, pleasure and delight.”
Aldridge, who has shot several iconic magazine covers, credits both Dennett and Kalchev for the courage to go into this whimsical world with him. It was clear that the agency and brand take their craft seriously, but understood that opening up accessibility meant pushing creative interpretation and stepping into a fantastical world.
“The brand and agency were happy to go there with me,” note Aldridge. “Advertising suffers when fear invades the creative process. But we’ve created new things to send out into the world, and it shows that this is a confident brand.”
Global Head of Brand: Louise Dennett
Global Senior Brand Manager: Rebecca Bell
Agency: DDB Paris
Executive Creative Director: Alexander Kalchev
Art Director: Nicolas Malcorps
Art Director: Mathieu Masse
Photographer & Director: Miles Aldridge
Music: Michael Kiwanuka