In 2010, scotch single malt Glenfiddich, launched its ‘One day you will’ campaign which attempted to establish a brand identity promoting the pioneering spirit of the founder, William Grant. An online CRM initiative, ‘Glenfiddich Explorers’ ran alongside a visually-lead press campaign, asking consumers to join an online community and contribute to a quasi-Pinterest predecessor, detailing all sorts of adventure ideas from Hiking the Smokies to Unusual Restaurants. In short, Glenfiddich wanted to show a more exciting and inspiring brand identity than a traditional scotch.
A year later, the brand took this one step further, moving into the world of sponsorship. The brand became the primary sponsor of an expedition run by the charity Walking with the Wounded which recruited a group of injured servicemen to climb to the summit of Everest. The sponsorship was integrated into their above-the-line and online advertising and this spring appeared heavily outdoor.
Alongside this, Glenfiddich ran a competition looking for 4 ‘adventurers’ to join the expedition as far as Everest Base Camp. As well as gaining a place on the expedition, the lucky winners will experience a whisky tasting to be streamed online and designed to ‘bring a taste of the Highlands to the Himalayas’.
The move into sponsorship shows an intelligent development of the ‘One day you will’ campaign which perhaps initially had difficulty in connecting to the product. Firstly, the activity enhances the brand’s promotion of discovery and pioneership which it sparked with the ‘Glenfiddich Explorers’ initiative. Secondly, this sense of wanderlust allows Glenfiddich to shake off the slightly stuffy image of a traditional scotch. And thirdly, by pairing itself with a charity supporting the forces, Glenfiddich is tapping into the timely sense of patriotism, particularly pertinent in the UK.
However, given the heavy focus on the charity expedition the tactical campaign falls down to some extent in how it advertises the product. The outdoor and press executions do not include any bottle shots and could be easily be confused with an ad for hiking attire. Granted, the ad builds a strong brand identity, but it fails to show any ‘ownable’ whisky territory or situations the audience could really relate to whisky drinking. Moreover, Glenfiddich has chosen to place these sponsorship ads all over outdoor but has not noticeably done the same with executions for the rest of the ‘One day you will’ campaign, meaning that some of the brand messaging these executions established has become lost.
Nevertheless, the continuing development of the Glenfiddich brand, lead by the ‘Glenfiddich Explorers’ campaign, is definitely one to watch in the spirits world. Not only has it really found its feet and enhanced its brand identity with sponsorship of an event, but it really seems to have pulled on the heartstrings of its UK market. Instead of setting its CRM as a point of social aspiration, like other brands such as Johnnie Walker have done, Glenfiddich is becoming an advocate for adventure, encouraging consumers to go beyond the everyday. Whether their product branding will start to reflect this is another matter, but for now the brand has achieved strong links to values beyond the world of whisky and stuffy connoisseurship.