Fortune favours the brave.
Built a tractor that can hit 100mph. Created the world’s first luxury Gaelic TV ad. Built the 120,000 strong, worldwide Ardbeg Committee. Helped Ardbeg become the fastest growing malt in their sector. Helped them become the first whisky in space. Just some of the things we’ve done to keep the Ardbeg brand relevant – if a little irreverent – over the years…
The rebirth of Ardbeg is a wonderful tale of survival against the odds. After years of ups and downs, Ardbeg Distillery was mothballed in the 1980s but rescued by Glenmorangie plc in 1997. When the client team approached us (in a previous agency life) and asked us to relaunch the brand, there was little stock, no customers, no distribution, no data, no brand positioning and next to no budget. So what did we do?
We found the answer in a brand truth. Islay, an island with only 3,000 inhabitants, had more than 140 committees. So we created one more – the Ardbeg Committee – our now worldwide, world-famous CRM programme with over 120 members in 140 countries.
Committee members have an important duty: to ensure the doors of the Distillery never close again.
We make them feel part of this unorthodox brand, and they give us their unstinting loyalty.
They buy the bottles. They attend events. They spread the word.
A brand you can get your teeth into
As Ardbeg goes from strength to strength, the brand’s attitude becomes bolder. We tell tall tales of Beasties and Islay-gators that become part of island folklore. Our Ardbeg Day antics have featured peat bog football, smugglers, monsters of the deep and a groovy festival of Peat & Love.
We always try to push our marketing endeavours to the very limits – so why not the outer limits? We helped the brand conduct the first ever whisky experiment in space aboard the International Space Station. This is a brand that defies gravity as well as convention – and we’ve been there to grow and steer it every brazen step along the way.
Any marketer wondering what CRM could do for them should visit Edinburgh. Story are among the very best of the best at it.Patrick Collister, then Head of Design, Google.