Haig Club: A New Whisky for a New Generation

In 1994 - the year Amazon was launched – 38 million litres of whisky were sold in the UK. But over the course of the next 20 years, whiskey sales declined by a third. Not only were premium gins and vodkas giving Scotch a run for its money, but the online gifting juggernaut that is Amazon had not been kind to the category. Whilst 16% of all retail sales occur online just 5% of alcohol sales came through this channel.

In October 2014 Diageo launched Haig Club, a premium single grain whisky co-created with none other than David Beckham. Whilst its superstar backer would undoubtedly drive unprecedented interest amongst a new generation of drinkers, we knew that the only way Haig Club could meet its ambitious sales target was to also do something no other spirit brand had done before – crack digital retail, and Amazon specifically.



Our big idea was to put media convergence at the heart of the plan over the key Christmas period, giving the launch a truly modern twist and closing the gap to purchase. We wanted to capitalise on the Beckham effect be that via creative on TV, OOH or online. Our goal: a purchase should never be more than two clicks away. No alcohol brand had ever activated a convergent plan on this scale before. But we knew if we got it right Haig Club could buck the abysmal online retail trend to become the first drinks brand to crack the digital gifting market.


First, TV spots were handpicked in the most socially discussed and searched for programmes. We focused on those where we knew people would have laptops, phones and iPads in front of them – such as the season premier of Homeland. Our OOH sites were selected in locations where we knew high levels of mCommerce occurred such as in shopping malls like Westfield where people regularly view products and then get their phone out to buy online. All activity was up-weighted around key shopping days to include Black Friday and Cyber Monday.With the plan in place the second stage was to make it convergent.

Over the first weekend of the campaign several things happened simultaneously. Promoted Tweets synced to TV spots. A Twitter mechanic was developed allowing people to Tweet a toast whereby the recipient was sent a gift bottle. Display advertising was synced to second screen devices so that when the TV ad started and Beckham appeared on TV, second screen devices automatically displayed shoppable Haig Club advertising. During the whole of the campaign, search was specifically up-weighted during key TV shows and on the two famous shopping days and featured copy to drive sales. Finally, Out-Of-Home sites were geo-fenced so that passing mobile phones also received the shoppable Haig Club advertising.

But the game-changer was that the second screen ads allowed people to drop a bottle of Haig Club into their online basket. Crucially, the mechanic allowed them to choose whichever retailer they had an account with. In other words, their Haig Club was there and waiting in their online grocery trolley. They could checkout then or then, or find it waiting whenever they did their next online shop at Amazon, ASDA, Morrison or Tesco – the multiple basket choices make it easy to buy and even easier to gift.

Haig Club became one of the most gifted grocery products online and in store at Christmas, thanks to a media campaign that had gifting right at its heart.

Ed Pilkington Marketing and Innovation Director, Western Europe, Diageo
Campaign Media Awards

Campaign Media Awards

Gold 2015

Gold in the Alcoholic Drinks category

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