Whisky Advocate

Blending with the stars? Whisky Idol?

December 16th, 2010

Is it me, or does it seem like every whisky company (and their brother) has some sort of competition going on these days?

You’ll find a new one with Compass Box and Master of Malt here. Glenrothes has one here. And here’s one from Macallan. I also saw this one by Jura. Bushmills had a big one which ended. (Can’t find the link to that one anymore.) And didn’t Old Pulteney have one?

I’m sure there are others too. Have you heard of any I didn’t mention?

I’m not sure what to make of it all. (Perhaps it’s all good?) There just seems to be a lot of them these days.

14 Responses to “Blending with the stars? Whisky Idol?”

  1. Ryan says:

    Federal, State, and Local consumer protection laws regulating the alcoholic beverage industry’s engagement in promotional activities within the U.S., essentially restrict such promotional activities to either coupons, or contest prizes. Apparently the whisky industry prefers contests to coupons. Unless there is a flurry of coupon activity sweeping the Internet too? If so John, please find out and get back to us ASAP!

  2. barry jay says:

    Don’t you just love it “Federal, State, and Local consumer protection laws”. It’s plain “throwing the baby out with the bath water”. What we really need is for the silly servants to stay out of it altogether…or…god forbit, actually work, addressing those things which really need addressing. I think the contests do more than just promote, but actually allow the whisky company to move outside the box and allow their patrons to see beyond the veil and see them in a different light. Dogfish Brewery was always good for that. Their contests were always geared to weekend getaways, behind the scenes tours and dinners at the pub with a red carpet treatment. Maybe some day we’ll see a fishing competion sponsored by our very own John Hansell. Wonder what the prize would be??

    • Ryan says:

      It is worth noting that, in the United States, the spirits industry’s ability to promote products is substantially governed by self-regulatory bodies within the industry… bodies who’s lobbiest helped draft exisiting legislation (federally, as recently as 2006) concerning alcohol promotion.

      So by absolutely no means does a scenario exists where one may cast the spirits industry as hapless victims, handcuffed by big brother. The industry recognizes it would be socially pernicious, and potentially economically ruinous, not to self-regulate. Especially after witnessing the not-so-distant wholesale political back-lash against, and punative punishmet of, the tabacco industry’s now infamous media efforts.

  3. two-bit cowboy says:

    Pulteney’s was for an able candidate to join the team to Row to the Pole. Most admirable.

  4. Red_Arremer says:

    I don’t mind silly stuff like this– possibly a little demeaning to the dignity of the drink, but I think it’s harmless.

  5. Alcohol marketing is so much more restricted than marketing for other types of consumer products that there is very little you legally can do. That’s why when someone has a good idea, everyone copies it.

  6. Jason Pyle says:

    I personally enjoy this. As an enthusiast and someone that loves understanding the “hows” of the whisk(e)y industry – these types of contests are cool. Reading through the Compass Box/Master of Malt contest – I love the idea. A day of excess and put through the full shooting match in blending with a guy/company that’s doing it as well or better than anyone else.

    So, I like it as long as we don’t end up with BS like Kitchen Nightmares on television I think I’m okay.

    I guess that could be your points John – it’s a slippery slope perhaps. Until then I think it’s cool.

    • Ryan says:

      So long as the promotions are adult themed, aimed at brand loyalty rather than zealously promoting increased consumption, and are unquestionably situated within media and themes aimed at adults, I’m alright with them.

      I’m sure a few of us recall Adolph Coors Co.’s co-production, with Destination Films, of the PG-13 “teen movie” Scary Movie 3. It was loaded with product placements, including the Coors Twins. Colassaly dumb move on Coor’s part.

      Idiot market share manuevers like that are precise examples of why the promotion of alcoholic beverages has become so severly regulated; both internally by the alcoholic beverage advertising industry, and externally by governmental bodies.

      • Ryan, we’re not talking about cheep beer or alcopops here. Apart from the cheap’n’dirty bottom shelf booze, whisky is a drink that’s just too expensive for most youngsters to get drunk from. And I can’t recall any whisky ad that seemed to promote excessive drinking.

        • Ryan says:

          I am not talking about cheap beer or alcopops either, nor the economics of gateway beverages for teens; so I’m not sure what your point is. I was recalling one incident (of many) which has shaped the way the entire alcohol promotional industry conducts business, and simultaneously limited possiblities for future promotional activity… i.e. to either adult-oriented contests or coupons.

          And I was not suggesting that any current whisky ads (that I have noticed) seemed to promote excessive drinking either, merely that I too am comfortable with the kinds of marketing that Jason Pyle had written about, but that my opinion would change if such a campaign were inappropriately situated.

        • I wrote this simply because you used the example of a brewery targeting teens. I think we all agree that whisky promotions like those described by John are very unlikely to have any impact on minors.

          By the way, re-reading this post and the comments made me think of these ridiculous age verification entry pages that 95 percent of all commercial whisky websites have. Slacktivism at its best. Doesn’t keep any kid away but they can say “We are fighting alcohol abuse by minors”. Sorry about getting slightly OT here

  7. B.J. Reed says:

    John, you could start a contest to see who has the best contest! 🙂

  8. kallaskander says:

    Hi there,

    like this one

    the Bushmills competition ran on facebook. A chap from Bulgaria won.

    Most of the time I register that there is a competition on but seldom am I enticed to participate – nor do I remember the brand which held the competition any better for that.

    But I think the target crowd for someting like this are people who are casual whisky drinkers.


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