Live Client + Activation
Whiskeysmith
 

Ask: Help Whiskeysmith "Own the Unexpected" and connect with consumers by creating an in-person activation.

TLDR: The world of whiskey is defined by hardcore beliefs and longstanding traditions. Whiskey purists love to argue about which rules are fact, but there’s one rule whiskey drinkers can agree on: flavored whiskey breaks them all. Drinking flavored whiskey is sacrilege, so we decided to show how playing with Whiskeysmith's flavors helps drinkers Relish in Blasphemy by creating an activation Flavored in Sin.

What I did: ​​Researched the whiskey category to understand its history and tone. Interviewed whiskey lovers and haters, as well as casual drinkers, to understand perceptions of whiskey and how it's enjoyed. Social listening to see how people talk about whiskey vs. flavored whiskey. Analyzed the impact and implications of tradition. Creative brief and strategy. Comms planning.

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Background: Whiskeysmith sets fire to tradition.

Whiskeysmith is a craft American whiskey that launched in the fall of 2021 with seven exciting flavors: banana, chocolate, pineapple, blood orange, coconut, peach and salted caramel. The brand encourages drinkers to "Own the Unexpected" by experimenting with the versatility of their flavors - but celebrating flavor is a highly controversial stance in the whiskey category. 

To the male-dominated world of whiskey purists, adding flavor cheapens the whiskey drinking experience and scoffs in the face of tradition. The seven flavors of Whiskeysmith are setting fire to tradition by encouraging drinkers to enjoy flavor unabashedly.

Problem: Drinking flavored whiskey is sacrilege. 


Life is full of nuance, but not in the world of whiskey. This is a world of opinions, hardcore beliefs and traditions. There are rules here - drink it with water, on ice, or only in certain cocktails. People love to argue about which rules are fact, but there’s one rule whiskey drinkers can agree on: flavored whiskey breaks them all.

"No ice and no water. It destroys the taste and the fire!" - Male, 52

"We need the UN to convene an international tribunal to hold and jail those responsible for flavored whiskey." - Social Listening: Twitter

Audience: People who aren't afraid to order what's traditionally out of order.

 

Young adults LDA-35 years old // curious individuals who enjoy things that are off the beaten path // appreciate products that deliver an element of surprise, such as a unique twist on a popular flavor // top reasons for consuming alcohol is enjoyment and to connect socially with others // curiosity is easily piqued by unusual things they see online.

Truth: Drinking was never meant to be sacred in the first place. 

 

The strict rules of the whiskey world might leave some novice drinkers feeling ostracized, but our audience starts feeling rebellious. They don't go to the bar to be judged by anyone - they go to have a good time. So when whiskey purists laugh and roll their eyes, our target winks and laughs harder. They don't really care about your whiskey traditions. They want to take the old and remix it - to give an old flame a new twist - to kick back and enjoy, hold the judgement.

Advantage: Whiskeysmith encourages drinkers to break tradition with unorthodox methods and flavors. 

 

Whiskeysmith isn't worried about ruffling feathers and proudly touts their beliefs:

"We Delight in Shock" - "Craft Doesn't Have To Be Taken So Seriously."

Image by Chris Barbalis

Strategy: We’ll show how playing with Whiskeysmith’s flavors help drinkers relish in blasphemy. 

 

Creative Idea: Flavored in Sin.

Manifesto

The Activation: 7 Whiskeysmith flavors + 7 deadly sins = 7 deadly pop-up bars in sinful cities across the country. Consumers will become fully immersed in each Whiskeysmith flavor through the lens of sin.

Influencer advertising + merch.

Image by Andre Fonseca

Billy Sunday once said, "Whiskey is all right in its place, but its place is in hell."
 

We couldn't agree more. We decided to kickoff this activation by pairing chocolate Whiskeysmith with lust on Valentine's Day weekend in none other than Hell's Kitchen, NYC.

Step 1:  Get your invitation to Temptation.

  • Step into our Times Square confessional for a printed invite.

  • Let us find you on social via Snapchat and Instagram geotagged invites.

  • Swipe to find our virtual invite on Tinder, because lust, duh!

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Step 2: Try to fight the Temptation.
Immerse yourself in lust with signature cocktails made with chocolate Whiskeysmith.

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Step 3: Collect a merch box with sinful goodies such as ...

  • Rosary shot glass to wear your "holy water" around your neck.

  • Flask carved out bible to conceal your lust for flavored whiskey.

  • Scarlett Letter inspired shirt with a quote from author Nathaniel Hawthorne, "This had been a sin of passion, not principle, nor even purpose, [but one flavored in sin]."

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Step 4: Online and in-store.

  • The Lust Box will be available on Whiskeysmith's website to send or receive a lustful experience.

  • Bottle tags and mini shots will help bring our blasphemous experience to stores with Whiskeysmith's take on the 10 Commandments. 

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With 6 more activations to follow, we aim to connect with people who buck tradition by redefining drinking norms and what it means to love whiskey.

If this sounds like you, we sincerely hope to:

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