These Hardworking Beavers Star in 'World's Best Whisky Ad'

System 1's effectiveness research puts The Woodsman's mascot on top

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Ahead of World Whisky Day on May 20, global marketing effectiveness and research company System1 has found what it claims is “the world’s best whisky ad”—a recent campaign from Whyte & Mackay featuring puppet beavers.

Released at the end of April for contemporary blended Scotch brand The Woodsman, owned by Whyte & Mackay, the “Well Earned” campaign focuses on the hard work of a colony of beavers and how they treat themselves at the end of a shift of gnawing and sawing away on wood.

They are led by brand mascot Barry the Beaver, who wipes his brow and raises a dram after a day’s work.

Created by London-based creative agency Mr. President, the campaign, led by a 30-second TV spot, aimed to position the brand as a spirit that celebrates woodcraft and the matured oak casks and ex-bourbon barrels in which the whisky is kept.

“The Woodsman has experienced strong growth since launch in the U.K.,” said Steven Pearson, chief marketing officer at Whyte & Mackay. “We needed an impactful campaign that stands out in a category full of craft cliches and authenticity tropes. We’re incredibly proud of this distinctive creative and look forward to seeing the beavers out in the wild.”

Since its release, System1 has analyzed the response, with head of marketing Tom Ewing describing it as “a truly entertaining ad” while highlighting the craft that has gone into the production, not least its puppetry.

He revealed that despite being less than a month old, the ad had been rated at 4.8 stars, making it the most effective whisky ad on System1’s Test Database, even compared to “better-known brands.”

Ewing explained that the success of The Woodsman proves mascots still resonate with viewers.

“Brand mascots like Barry the Beaver are thin on the ground in alcohol ads these days. Partly it’s a fashion thing, partly it’s that brands have been a bit cautious around regulation designed to stop alcohol ads appealing to kids and helped end the golden Hofmeister Bear era of the drink brand mascot,” he noted.

“But there are ways to do mascots which don’t feel childish, and do embody the spirit of the brand. Barry’s rough-edged, no-nonsense pride in a job well done is one of them,” he added.

The TV campaign is airing across the U.K. on VOD, social and digital.

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