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Customizing a bottle of Scotch:
A Father’s Day message from Diageo

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The best advertising campaigns are often those that help people communicate their true feelings and emotions.

This mobile campaign from Diageo, which ran in Brazil, does just that. And although its not overly complex or hi-tech, it certainly adds a bit of fun and helped people express what they really feel on Father’s Day.

And according to Diageo, they learned several key lessons from running this campaign.


Father’s Day is a time when many people want to express their appreciation and love for their father, often with a card and a gift. Wouldn’t it be great if a gift could be customized for a specific father, and include a message as well?

Diageo, the world’s largest supplier of spirits, did exactly this with their +More campaign that ran last year in Brazil.

Here’s how it worked:

  • Diageo printed QR codes onto the sides of Johnnie Walker, White Horse, and Old Parr whiskey bottles in the Brazilian market. Each QR code was unique and specific to the individual bottle.
  • The person that bought the bottle of Scotch as a gift, let’s say it is a son, could scan the QR code, and would then be taken to a web application which enabled them to produce a customized video message for their father.
  • The father, upon receiving the Scotch as a gift, could scan the QR code, and would see the unique, personalized video message from his son.

The technology for this “+More” campaign was developed by software company Evrything, there is a video which shows it in action down below.

johnnie_walker_mobile.jpg

In addition to providing a very nice communication between fathers and their children, the campaign also helped Diageo communicate with their customers.

johnnie_walker_venky.jpgVenky Balakrishnan, Diageo’s VP of marketing innovation, said: “We call it +More because there’s more to the bottle than meets the eye. The bottle has become a medium, but it’s not one size fits all… It’s incredibly rich. We can go back to the same person later in the year and remind them of other opportunities around Christmas, for example, or about events, tastings, offers — anything we do in the world of whiskey. We also get to understand the geography of a bottle and the journey it makes.”

Mr. Balakrishnan said that overall, the campaign outperformed its ROI targets. However, as will all campaigns, not everything was perfect and in fact Diageo had learned 5 key lessons from this campaign*:

1. Build it and they won’t come
Even though you have made the most amazing campaign, you need to tell people about it or they won’t see it. Brands need to create awareness at a large scale.

2. Keep it lightweight and effortless
Brands tend to overestimate how much time people are willing to spend on learning new innovations, so all new digital media innovations have to be very easy to understand and effortless to use.

3. You get one shot at this
If people try a campaign over mobile (or any new channel) it has to work and be rewarding to the consumer the first time or they won’t bother to try it again.

4. Get your ducks in a row
Even though a campaign may start out as a relatively small bit of activity in the digital marketing department, it will very likely touch many parts of your company. In this case including the supply chain, IT, legal, marketing, and sales.

5. There are two types of innovation
While it is important to work hard at innovating, it is just as important to dedicate time and effort in getting the fundamentals correct.

* as presented at Econsultancy’s JUMP New York event and summarized on econsultancy.com.

Also read:

• Smirnoff Advertising Goes Mobile

• Guinness Connects With Rugby Fans Via Innovative Mobile Tournament Guide

• The Hotter The Day - The Less You Pay! Budweiser Ice Cold Index


07.08.2013    Tags: , , ,
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