Family history in a bottle
The market for blended whiskies is an unforgiving one. Brands get locked into a cycle of deep price cuts to generate sales with shoppers whilst spending large amounts on media and advertising to keep awareness levels high amongst drinkers. However, with Bray Leino, 2012 proved to be a year of change for Grant’s Whisky.
As the oldest family owned blended whisky brand, Grant’s faced stiff competition from larger multinational brands with deeper pockets intent on buying share in a promiscuous market. Having witnessed a 3.5% volume decline during the run up to our campaign and the unsustainable reality of three quarters of volume being sold at a price discount, something had to change.
Added to this is the strength of own label sales and the two leading brands – Bells & Famous Grouse – against whom Grant’s is a challenger brand in the category and cannot match the spending / discounts offered by these rivals.
We needed to both secure the visibility on shelf and support of the trade but without the sole financially debilitating reliance on deep price cuts to do so.
What’s more, we needed to bring the brand’s heritage to life, founded on the five generations of Grant’s family who have been blending the whisky since 1887 in the north east of Scotland.
We changed how Grant’s approached these challenges by bringing an idea to life on the bottle. We brokered a partnership promotion with Findmypast to provide a £10 voucher on each bottle for consumers to discover their own family history and build their own family tree. Across the campaign this equated to £5m worth of value that was negotiated for free.
Premium spirit brands spend vast amounts of time and effort crafting their packaging to retain the signature cues and shapes that help define their brand in the eyes of the consumer. The on pack design incorporating a shrink wrap helping to preserve the distinctive Grant’s brand cues but gave shoppers a reason to pick the bottle up off the shelf. More importantly, the additional display was secured without recourse to a deep price discount.
But the campaign wouldn’t have changed much without an awareness campaign away from the fixture. Bray Leino and Village Communications negotiated outdoor digital advertising worth over £168,000 for free to generate attention, backed by a PR campaign fronted by Andrew Castle in national press, radio and interviews to promote a Family Gatherings campaign. This was underpinned by radio advertising over several weeks, press ads in key target audience titles, in store display units and point of sale.
Ahead of all of this, the key trade buyers received their own personalised oversized book containing information on the Grant’s Family history, promotional information and support, plus of course their own unique bottle of Grant’s Whisky encased within the weighty tome.
The results have changed everything for Grant’s. It achieved a redemption of over 2.3% (typically promotions of this nature would elicit a 1% to 1.5% redemption) and drove new customers to Findmypast.
Sales were up 12% in value, which exceeded sales from a previous Grant’s price promotion and most tellingly, outsold the nearest competitor, Whyte & Mackay's 2 to 1 during the same period. We arrested a sales decline and put Grant’s into growth across the 3 months of the campaign period.
Moving forwards, Grant’s has changed the way they approach promotions
– to change consumer behaviour, adding value and bringing the brand story to life works as well or even better than changing the price.
“In a category that is dominated by deepcut price activity we wanted to offer our consumers something of value, beyond that of money off their next purchase. We enlisted the expertise of Bray Leino to help us deliver the very weighty task of, driving frequency of purchase amongst core drinkers, whilst communicating the unique Grant’s family story. By partnering with findmypast.co.uk we were not only able to offer consumers a guaranteed £10 of value with every purchase, but gave them the chance to discover some of their own family stories as a result. This integrated promotion proved that an on pack can deliver more than a fleeting transactional experience for consumers and instead something of real value, family history to be shared with the next generation. We were thoroughly impressed with both the consumer and trade response to the promotion and will be enlisting Bray Leino’s expertise again to deliver another exciting activation in 2013.”
Oliver Dickson – Senior Brand Manager, First Drinks Brands Ltd