The radical strategy to boost a burgeoning brand using gin-filled Christmas baubles.
Ah yes, the famous baubles. The cute, colourful, screw-top Christmas baubles filled with delicious Pickering’s Gin. The novelty, nearly-broke-the-internet baubles that attracted the attention of ABC News, Stylist Magazine, Lynda Lopez and Martha Stewart.
The thing you have to understand about the baubles campaign was that it wasn’t just about selling baubles. The baubles were a hook. A strategy to boost the profile of a young gin brand, build a database and ramp up sales of Pickering’s other gin products. Because when your marketing budget is tighter than Santa’s long johns, you have to box clever.
Story’s Creative Director (Dave Mullen) had the idea for marketing gin-filled baubles back in 2014 – a much-needed innovation within the increasingly crowded gin category. In 2015, the Pickering’s team trialled sales of 500 individual baubles at Christmas fairs in Edinburgh. They proved staggeringly popular.
So in 2016, they raised the stakes and produced tens of thousands of baubles, beautifully packaged up in boxes of six to be sold as the perfect gift for any gin and/or Christmas lover.
As the creative agency who’d developed the Pickering’s brand from day one, it was for us to design and write the most enticing baubles packaging we could, as well as all the marketing comms that followed…
The main sales channel for the baubles was the Pickering’s online shop, promoted via social media and emails to the Pickering’s Ginfriends database, then numbering 2,379.
We were pretty sure that as soon as people heard about them, the baubles would sell out. But that would cause a problem for Pickering’s. As a small team filling each bauble by hand, they would struggle to meet demand. So together we came up with a solution that would overcome the supply bottleneck, while also helping us fulfil our other objective of growing that valuable database.
We would release the baubles in two batches. The first to pique interest. The second to drive demand.
As predicted, the first batch sold out fast – within a day in fact. So then we let it be known to those who missed out that if they wanted to be first to hear about the second release, they would have to sign up to become a Ginfriend.
Our cunning ploy worked. Amidst a social media and PR frenzy, Pickering’s gained 19,596 new Ginfriends – an increase of 800.4%. When it was released, the second batch of baubles sold out in 82 seconds.
Of course, other gin producers soon wanted a slice of the action. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that, but it’s also the quickest way to steal market share. So when other gin-related tree decorations appeared, we took to social media to point out that Pickering’s are the only genuine, original gin baubles around.
All in all, the success of 2016’s award-winning baubles campaign enabled Pickering’s to secure a £350K investment to expand the distillery. And it paved the way for more baubles, more budget and more brand brilliance in 2017 and beyond. But that’s another story…
Thanks to the success of the bauble campaign in 2016 we went on to sell 1,000,002
baubles in 2017, helping us to triple the turnover of our business. We’ve always had a mantra to ‘be remarkable’ and time and again Story has helped us to be exactly that. If you have an idea, give it to Story. They’ll make it real and send it back to you with bells on!”Marcus Pickering, Co-founder & Head of export sales, Pickering’s Gin