Whisky Advocate

Your clever whisky marketing campaign

December 15th, 2009

You remember Bruichladdich’s quadrupel-distilled X-4 being used as race car fuel. Recently, there was the world’s largest whisky bottle, filled with Tomintoul whisky.

pic24464Back in early November I read about a geeky computer guy who made a PC out of a 1.5 liter Ballentine’s whisky bottle. (Picture on left.)

Now, we have the world’s first single malt menorah, filled with Tullibardine.



When it comes to whisky, there’s never a dull moment. And whisky marketing, whether just coincidental or fully intended, is getting more extreme.

What next, I wonder? How about a suggestion or two? Let’s help the whisky companies out by coming up with a few ideas of our own.

We’ve been getting a little too serious of late. Let’s have some fun. I know many of you out there have the intelligence, creativity and wit to do this.

Come on. Don’t be shy. Let’s hear them.

30 Responses to “Your clever whisky marketing campaign”

  1. Marco Nijholt says:

    You must admit, working at a marketing department in the whisky industry probably is as much fun as it can get.

  2. Michael Shoshani says:

    I hope they didn’t LIGHT the menorah while it was filled with delicious, highly inflammable Scotch!

    So far as whiskey marketing….back when our fathers were young the major US distilleries had special packaging for Christmas (which were pushed with major magazine ad campaigns), and they also offered various ceramic decanters. I wonder why they don’t do that anymore? It seems to me that it’s an interesting way to get attention for one’s product and maybe “stand out” a little.

  3. Our fireplace is made of lichen-covered granite. The grate holds 36″ logs. In front of the hearth sits a glass-topped coffee table. I lined four Laphroaigs on the glass and shot an image of the fire blazing behind the bottles with its reflection licking at the bases of the bottles. The caption? “Where there’s smoke ….”

  4. bgulien says:

    1st idea: Ship in a bottle. Cutty Sark Blend in a bottle with a model Cutty Sark inside. very cheesy, but that’s the game they play.

    2nd idea: The biggest vessel ever!!! In a cask! Oh s@#t, they do that already 😉

    3d idea: Sell it as a sort of marble, but not glass. A dissolvable material, so that, when you suck on one, it releases the drink. Can be done with a variety of sprits.

    4th idea: Bottle with sensors, so you can see level of the bottle on your computer, which, of course, when the level is below acceptable, it orders a new one .

  5. Dan says:

    Honestly, I’d rather the whisky companies (at least the ones who make whisky I like) not do too much marketing.

    I have a rule of thumb for wine and spirits: if I see too many advertisements, then I’m paying too much for that product.

  6. Steve says:


    Since they’ve hit on a holiday theme, let’s just keep it going. I suggest dark chocolate hollow yule logs, Santas, etc. filled with whiskey. For Thanksgiving next year, Wild Turkey could do a hollow chocolate turkey filled with RR.

    Next, an adult Advent calendar. Instead of chocolates, each day opens up to reveal a different single malt minature.

    Finally, a marketing push to replace popping open Champagne on New Year’s Eve. Instead, put whisky bottles in foil and run commercials playing Auld Lang Syne playing up Hogmanay, a “new” holiday tradition.


  7. Mr Manhattan says:

    Limited edition hollow ceramic busts of famous American whiskey distillers filled with the appropriate spirit.

    Or maybe just a series of bobble head dolls?

  8. Marc says:

    1) I think for the festive season they should release different shaped bottles of the usual expressions. Sort of a collectors edition but the whisky is the same (and therefore so should the price +/- a few bob) but the bottle is unique and limited. 2)Distillers should target movie producers, so instead of occasionally seeing a Pepsi plug in a movie, we can see a Bowmore. 3) I think it would be very cool if when you bought a whisky it had some kind of unique serial number on it, and if you typed that into a website you could read exactly which casks it is composed of and perhaps even images of where they were stored in the wharehouse. RFID chips? (This is not for the average consumer, only for the whisky geeks out there – like me!)

  9. MrTH says:

    How about really good whisky for a fair price? Oh, I know, I’m no fun at all.

  10. Matt G says:

    @Marc, I’m pretty sure that the big companies already do product placement. Either that, or just about every fictional character on TV and film prefers Diageo products. Usually, if you can see the label, someone paid for it. Otherwise, they try to hide the label (even if they use a very distinctive bottle shape).

    I want to see some of the big distilleries taking a cue from Copper Fox and sell miniature barrels with bottles of new make.

  11. Quentin says:

    An iPhone app that will find that one bottle of whiskey you’ve been searching for (many shops here don’t bother putting their entire stock on the web, because they may only have a few bottles that disappear quickly) with automatic alerts for new arrivals. I’ve missed too many bottles because I don’t have the local store on speed dial!

  12. JC Skinner says:

    Just seen that menorah.
    I’m contemplating converting.

  13. Neil Fusillo says:

    In the sheer gimmickry department (since clever marketing is not really what a whisky menorah’s all about):

    – A ‘bottle’ of drams. A collection of individual dram-sized containers all held in a hinged bottle-shaped outer container. You just open it up, grab out a ‘dram,’ and pop the cork/cap/seal/etc.

    – Whisky-bottle Christmas ornaments with whisky in them. How long will they hang on your tree before you can no longer resist the urge to open them up and drink their liquid gold?

    – Stone whisky bottles quarried from the local regions from whence the whisky comes — adding that extra touch of local flavour.

    And last, but not least,

    – Bottled water from the whisky-maker’s source: the only REAL water to add to your whisky is the water they use to make it. Now available in half-litre, 250ml, or 50ml containers.

  14. John Hansell says:

    All good ideas. Some very clever. I thought there might be more sarcasm. Maybe everyone is in the holiday spirit?

  15. Louis says:

    Whisky robot. It can retrieve any bottle from your cabinet, so no need to get up. It can also scan in the labels of bottles on the shelves, so it knows about your entire inventory. An override feature allows you to hide the rare Ardbegs, Springbanks, etc. The commercial version would presumably only recognize the distillery that sells the robot.

  16. Paul M says:

    The Tiger Woods collection – name each bottling after one of his mistress’.

  17. After fierce competition between Islay affinity membership groups, Ardbeg introduces a new affinity program. Riffing on the deeded square foot of Laphroaig property given to Friends of Laphroaig, Ardbeg offers Committee members a few square inches of toilet stall space in the Laphroaig Tasting Room bathroom. Ardbeg Committee members will be able to request whatever they want to be covertly written / vandalized by Ardbeg distillery employees with a black sharpie on the Laphroaig bathroom stall.

    Here I sit, broken hearted…

  18. John Hansell says:

    Paul, I was wondering when Tiger might find inroads into WDJK.

    Stronglikecask: that’s a good one!

  19. Euan says:

    Diageo will do a limited run of Johnnie Walker Blue. 900 bottles, each one bearing one of the names of the employees they made redundant in Kilmarnock. The bottles can be a parting gift to fatcats at Diageo’s annual holiday executive managers lunch.

  20. John Hansell says:

    Euan,Ouch!! That one hurts!

  21. Jimi says:

    More miniature gift sets like the Balvenie 12, 15, 21. Most mini’s in the U.S. are standard stuff. Give everyone a chance to try more of those high end bottles for a fraction.

  22. BJ Reed says:

    How about a vatted malt of the distilleries Ian Henderson has managed over his illustrious career?

  23. John Hansell says:

    BJ, that’s something I would like to try, but who would want to market it? Maybe we just have to do our own “marriage”?

  24. B.J. Reed says:


    Goes back to your post a few months ago about the value (or crime) of vatting your own malts!

  25. Todd says:

    Touching on BJs comment, it is amazing how malts really sing under Iain Henderson’s hand. Ever tried Iain Henderson-era Bladnoch? Fantastic stuff!

    John, any chance we might see a tribute feature dedicated to Mr. Henderson’s storied career?

  26. Todd says:

    For the sake of all of us who occasionally pack bottles in our checked luggage, let’s hope that no one ever tries to transport this in their luggage on a plane.

  27. Gary says:

    How about a whiskey GPS? Put in the whiskey you are looking for and the GPS will direct your car to the location that sells that whiskey. Sweet.

  28. B.J. Reed says:

    I remember a cold and rainy night in March of 1998 with Ian greeted us at the dock in Port Ellen, drove us to Laphroig and gave us a tour at 8:00 at night – Then treated us to a dram or two in a small tasting room (purchased a 1976 bottling I still have) and stayed with us till after 10 p.m. Actually delayed a holiday he was planning because we missed an earlier ferry. That was a great experience and one I will always treasure.

  29. Red_Arremer says:

    An economy vatted malt, which would change profile and price from batch to batch based on the best quality-value ratio malts available to the blender at the time of each batch production.

    It would have a stark black and white label. On the front of the bottle would be a comprehensive account, set in small type, of the costs involved in producing the batch and of how the costs translated into the cost of the bottle prior to distribution. This account would vary from batch to batch. On the back of the bottle there would be a paragraph about the inflation of prices on scotch recently and about the brands dedication to going against that flow.

    Be interesting to see how consumers would react to something like that, especially considering the interest of many scotch consumers in “luxury.”

  30. Kevin says:

    A few thoughts..

    1)A 3 pack (maybe 375mls) featuring the same whiskey at barrel strength, 101pf and maybe 90pf

    2)I’m shocked that we haven’t seen more liquor advertising on televised poker tournaments. I’d love to see a Knob Creek Poker Team or something along those lines. Maybe there are laws against it or something.

    3)I’d do more whiskey dinners (such as the Beam/Morton’s dinners) as the economy improves. Whiskey is all about friends and conversation – no better place to do this than over food.

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