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Talisker launch goes down a storm

30th April 2013

I never really thought that, given that this column is supposedly about the art of the stunt, I would find myself writing about a whisky brand.

By and large, the two things don’t go together.

In general, the whisky business is in that precarious position of wanting desperately to appeal to a younger audience, to do something with some edge and to break out of the image that is largely its own making.

But there is a growing number of brands that are challenging that convention. William Grant & Son’s Money Shoulder, the Macallan, Highland Park’s Thor and Loki brands have been ploughing the furrow.

We can now add Talisker to those seried ranks.

For those who didn’t see their South Bank-based launch stunt for Talisker Storm, this is what it was all about …

For those who didn’t watch the whole thing, Talisker brought the weather of Skye to the London spring (they are then going to do the same in Milan, Munich and a host of other European design capitals).

And they enlisted the services of one Mr Michael Fish to give the whole launch a bit more media oomph – culminating in an appearance on the front page of the Daily Telegraph last week.

I thought that it was a great example of a whisky brand willing to push the boundaries of where the category is willing to go – having hit upon a stunt idea that brings the story of the product to life in a way that is genuinely fun and engaging, while at the same time being willing to add an element for media (the aforementioned weather man) that gives it some mass appeal.

It just goes to show that, with enough thinking – and in this case with enough Diageo money – behind an idea, even the most staid of categories can find ways of breaking out of their self-imposed communications conventions and do something different.

As agencies, we need to keep thinking about how we can challenge our clients to push the boat out while at the same time we don’t push so far that an existing base is compromised. With the launch of the storm, Talisker has shown a way of doing just that.

James Gordon-MacIntosh is founder and Managing Partner at Hope&Glory PR

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