Events and Online: What Bushmills Whiskey Is Doing Right.

When I was invited by a friend to go to the Bushmills Whiskey party in Boston the first thing I asked was:

“are they going to have anything besides whiskey drinks?”  I’m not a huge fan of whiskey (until last night).  My friend said “no, it’s a whiskey party, what’s wrong with you?”

Since I hadn’t seen this friend in a while, I went.  I assumed it would be another branded event where I’d be handed informational pamphlets, had the sellers bug me about how whiskey is made, why I should buy it, cram in a room with 600 people, blah blah blah.

This wasn’t like that.

1) Bushmills knew who they wanted and they wanted tastemakers so that’s who they invited.  They didn’t need to pack the place to the gills until it was uncomfortable so they could report numbers back to corporate.  It was an event that you could wander around in or even find a seat if you wanted.  wonderful.

2) They recorded and branded content for themselves and their partygoers.  A ton of it.  It was genius.  Since they had all the right tastemakers at their party they launched a small army of photographers into the room to take photos of everyone enjoying their product.  Good lord they probably have a zillion videos and photos of happy, real people enjoying Bushmills.  They also had a cool photo group set up in one corner to take fun photos with your friends and some hipsterish props (think antlers and mustaches).  They had iPads there so you could immediately upload your photos to your Facebook page, Twitter, and whatever other channel you wanted to upload to.  Here’s mine:

Since they were inviting kind of a hip crowd they made sure that the photos, the props, the food, etc. were all in a certain style so that this crowd would want to upload it.  Can you imagine if they had some bright splashy frame around this photo?  Not nearly as many people would have wanted to upload them.

They also printed some of the photos out so that I had hard copies to take home.  The rest I can get off of their Facebook page.

This is genius because in one night they got a non whiskey drinker to:

try their product, have photos taken with it, upload a lightly branded photo to my Facebook page, visit their Facebook page to check out the rest of the photos I was in, and also have hard copy Bushmills branded photos on my refrigerator.  All because I happened to like the style everything was created in.

3) They knew what else their audience would like from an event.  Some of the tastemakers they invited were foodies, so their appetizer offerings ranged from bacon brownies to gourmet baby back rib bites, to cupcakes.  Branded cupcakes of course.  This gave people additional options to capture the event the way that they wanted to.  I saw people all over the place snapping iPhone pictures of the food.

Overall Lesson:

When you want to do some type of event that has branding to it, go all the way.

Think about your audience and the style they will like, not your style.

Create content at events and also, think of ways to help people at your event create their own content.





One Response to “Events and Online: What Bushmills Whiskey Is Doing Right.”

  1. terri says:

    Bushmills did sound like they nailed the marketing opportunity with the party. I’m impressed that you picked up so many clever branding tactics while drinking whiskey. Perhaps I should do that next time I’m analyzing someone’s brand strategy…

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