Anomaly Shares a Very Generous Glass of Crown Royal with the City of New Orleans

By Patrick Coffee 

MDC Partners’ Anomaly won lead creative duties on Crown Royal and Buchanan’s Scotch at some point over the past few months when parent company Diageo formally ended its dormant relationship with Grey, simultaneously sending Ketel One Vodka and Bulleit Bourbon to Barton F. Graf.

In October, the first campaign from this newly united duo starred one J.B. Smoove, who warned all involved not to get him started lest he “vanilla this whole room up.”

This week a newer, larger effort went live expanding on the theme of generosity. And it’s on brand: see, some ambitious Canadians created Crown Royal for King George upon his visit to North America in 1939. Or so the story goes.


Today, though, the brand’s anthem is all about the blues and the sense of giving within a predominately black community.

That song was by Charles Bradley of Daptone Records, rest in peace to Sharon Jones.

The campaign’s goal is to position the act of giving as a status symbol, and not just in the “I donated X dollars” sense. The campaign was filmed in New Orleans with an all local cast, and the crew played to the strengths of those featured.

The next spot is all about meetings and greetings between parties and sleepy dogs.

The next one goes in a more personal direction, with one man listening to an elderly woman’s tale of the days when women still got paid to wait inside cakes, ready to jump out at a moment’s notice.

As dog people, we have a particular appreciation for this next one. You need to wait for the payoff.

We particularly liked the strong implication that this guy will sit down, say hello to his dogs, and proceed to pour himself a hard-earned drink.

Generosity, the campaign argues, is more than an emotion or even a behavior; it’s a “code” that governs behavior between intimates and acquaintances alike. And it often comes with a side glass of whiskey.

“The notion of generosity is at the heart of Crown Royal,” said Sophie Kelly, SVP of Marketing for Diageo’s North American whiskies, in the press release. “As one of America’s most-loved, most-shared and most-gifted whiskies, we have a fortunate role in culture and with this effort, we’re using our platform to put generosity on the throne where it belongs.”

“This is a true brand purpose. We want to inspire people to live with exceptional generosity,” said Anomaly New York CEO Karina Wilsher, who will be moving to London soon.

We love whiskey as much as the next person, if not a little bit more. But those purple bags go a long way toward positioning the brand as a gift, don’t they?

The campaign page includes some more spots like this very specific :15 about tailgating in the winter.


Brand: Crown Royal
Campaign: Generosity

James Thompson, Diageo North America CMO Sophie Kelly, Sr. Vice President of North American Whiskeys
Jim Ruane, Crown Royal Brand Director

Agency: Anomaly

VO and Guitarist: Derwin Perkins (aka Big D)
Other musicians: Ivan Neville – Keyboard
Joseph Zigaboo Modeliste – Drummer
Tony Hall – Bass Player
Pete Murano – Second Guitarist

Production Co.: Somesuch/Anonymous
Director: Daniel Wolfe
Executive Producer(s): Nicky Barnes

Editor: Tom Lindsay
Editorial Company: Trim Editing/Cosmostreet

Post Producer: Luiza Naritomi

Production Company: Arts & Sciences
Director: Luke Monaghan
Executive Producer: Marc Marrie
Executive Producer: Mal Ward

Service Company: Suneeva
Executive Producer: Sean O’Brien
Executive Producer: Geoff Cornish
Producer: Kegan Sant
DP: Vinit Borrison