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As a whiskey novice, I knew I needed to immerse myself into the world of whiskey before doing any sort of strategy or creative concepting. This meant diving into the whiskey wormhole on YouTube, chatting with all kinds of whiskey drinkers and reading about the tradition (and dare I say religion?) of whiskey.
In doing our due diligence on whiskey, my team and I found that by all accounts, this isn’t a very shocking category — if anything, it’s shockingly consistent. But when it comes to flavored whiskey, society says it's damned. So we thought, let's embrace that. We then looked into a few brands who've successfully dabbled in religious-based campaigns and risky positioning. Perhaps this was an area for us to explore?
In the Whiskeysmith brief, our client asked for something that would "delight them in shock." And while we knew that whiskey is a drink for the wise, the refined, the traditional, we also knew that we wanted to ruffle some feathers. Thus began our team's daring decision to disrupt the whiskey category by encouraging Whiskeysmith drinkers to relish in blasphemy. In doing so, we wrote a creative brief and an internal manifesto, leaning into the idea of seven deadly pop-up bars that would embody Whiskeysmith's seven sinful flavors.
With the help of interviews from frequent bar goers and user journey mapping, my team and I pin-pointed key touchpoints that each of the seven bars could capitalize on and how they might differentiate themselves according to flavor. We also created a communications plan for one flavor (chocolate), so that the client could see just how daring we want Whiskeysmith to be. And I can report with confidence, that the client was definitely "delighted in shock," but in the best way possible.
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