Atmosphere launched a new premium whisky into a cluttered market in a highly unique way.

The Challenge

To launch a new premium whisky, Johnnie Walker® Platinum Label™, into the saturated South African market – an event generally deemed as not very newsworthy by the media. And on a very tight budget. The challenge was also to contribute to the sale of at least 1000 units.

The Idea

Research showed that our target audience aspired to exclusivity. We convinced our client to delay the launch of the whisky by two weeks and created the One-Bottle Liquor Store, a ‘pop-up’ bottle store – for two weeks only. The store housed just one bottle of the exclusive Johnnie Walker® Platinum Label™ which would be auctioned to the highest bidder.

The Solution

Partnering with our sister companies in the King James Group (HammerLive events and Society social media agency), we conducted an integrated campaign which ran for just two weeks. Consumers could visit a highly visual, glamorous store in Melrose Arch in Jo'burg to bid on a bottle of Platinum Label™ in person, or they could do so on Facebook. The bottle was signed by a Master Scottish Blender, which increased its value. For a period of one weekend, the winning bidder was the only person in South Africa to possess a bottle of Platinum Label™ – a massive status ‘badge’. All the proceeds from the auction were donated to an NGO, South Africans Against Drunken Driving. Tactics included an exclusive launch event at the One-Bottle Liquor Store to start the bidding, where we hosted key celebrities, media and bloggers and influencers for the hand-over to highest bidder, a creative Platinum Label™ desk drop to key media, and key media and influencer whisky tastings with a global ambassador.

The Results

Platinum Label™ was sold out two weeks after launch, and by December 2012, a total of 2151 units were sold, 103% above target. The collector’s bottle sold for R76 000, 76 times its current retail price of R999. PR delivered 58 pieces of on-message coverage to the value of R1.8 million. Facebook achieved a total of 2216 unique bids and 20 037 new page ‘likes’. The One-Bottle Liquor Store campaign is now used as Diageo’s best practice case study globally. The integrated agency team won a Gold Loerie award for effective creativity in 2014.

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