Seagram’s Gets Thirsty, Slides Into 7Up’s DMs for Valentine’s Day

A new brand social strategy: surprise, delight and swipe right

A red background with a black smartphone with Instagram DMs open
Seagram's 7 Crown is rekindling the romance in its decades-long relationship with 7Up. Forsman & Bodenfors
Headshot of David Griner

Brands fighting on Twitter? Very 2019. Brands climbing into each other’s jeans and rutting like wrestling polecats? That’s the energy 2020 is bringing to social media.

Case in point: Seagram’s and 7Up, longtime cocktail companions who seem to be on the verge of upgrading their relationship from beverage besties to canoodling couple. (Or, I suppose it’s more accurate to say, rekindling a romance that’s been the subject of ads going back decades, but more on that in a moment.)

For Valentine’s, the Diageo-owned brand’s Seagram’s 7 Crown whiskey slid into 7Up’s Instagram DMs and followed up with a romantic gift of booze to mark what the spirit brand says is a 60-year relationship. The actual origin of the 7 and 7 cocktail, made from both drinks and surely created as a marketing gimmick by the Seagram’s sales team before its rise to popularity in the 1970s, is murky as far as timelines go.

Here’s a look at the direct-message conversation between the two leading up to the gift:

With agency Forsman & Bodenfors acting as matchmaker (and, sorry to spoil the illusion, writing the copy for both sides of the DM dialogue), the rekindled romance resulted in a gift box send to the soda brand:

The note reads:

Dear 7Up,
Here’s to 60 smooth years. Sure, we’ve had our rocks, like that time you caught me with cola. But I was an immature 147-year-old then, and I’m so grateful you gave me a chance to prove, once again, how perfect a couple we are. Happy Valentine’s Day, to the 7 to our 7.
Seagram’s 7

Sure, the whole setup is a tad cringey, but not overly so. In an era when seemingly disconnected brands like Netflix, Little Debbie and Steak-umm regularly roll up into each other’s social replies, it’s actually kind of nice to see a pairing with some legitimate legacy.

The stunt, created in collaboration with 7Up social agency Deutsch L.A., also marks an interesting pivot in the “surprise and delight” approach brands have been taking since the earliest days of social media. That tactic generally entailed sending unexpected gifts to fans (or even critics) and the occasional influencer or celeb.

Are brands now surprising and delighting each other? On its face, that admittedly seems like a weird strategy, but the reality of daily Twitter is that users seem to enjoy watching the brands banter, frequently resulting in the classic admonishment to “get a room.”

So the Seagram’s 7 Crown Valentine’s stunt is both topical and a fun nod to the long-running relationship between the two brands, which has been the subject of ads going back decades:

Before we close with the credits for the Seagram’s Valentine’s stunt, I have to pause and give props to @iamtherog on Twitter, who has been watching this trend with a downright academic zeal  for the past year:


Client: Seagram’s 7 | Diageo

Sophie Kelly: SVP, North America Whiskey at Diageo
Jason Sorley: Brand Director, Whiskey
Victoria David: Associate Brand Manager

Creative agency: Forsman & Bodenfors New York
Rob Hirst-Hermans: Creative
Jose Maria Almeida Neves: Creative
Claudette Martin: Creative
Matt Creamer: Creative
Maureen Link: Account Services
Corey Weilheimer: Account Services
Kaylah Majeed: Project Manager
Steve Gorski: Strategy
Kim Jose: Integrated Production
Deirdre McMurray: Print Production
Liv Imperatore: Content Production
Nina Randall: Integrated Production
Matt Friday: Business Affairs
Zach Stone: Photography / Editor
Tom Sexton: Studio

Don't miss the Brandweek Sports Marketing Summit and Upfronts, a live virtual experience Nov. 16-19. Gain insights from leading sports figures on how they navigated a year of upsets and transformation and what's in store for the coming year. Register. 

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."