M&C Saatchi

Core disciplines: Advertising/Creative, Digital

Ballantine's, Stay True 


Our Challenge:

The Pernod Ricard’s owned Ballantine’s brand, was the world’s No.2 Scotch had a classic whisky positioning - appealing to an older adult male demographic. There was little emotional connection with the global younger millennial audience, and we needed to rejuvenate the positioning, attracting this younger group to the brand.

A Strategy of Reconnection

Our global brand research confirmed the vital importance of self-image associated with a status product such as premium whisky. But critically it also revealed a key pathway from this to the younger millennial group.

There was widespread respect for self-expression interpreted as conviction. Knowing yourself and having the confidence to ‘be yourself’ were widely held up as admirable traits.

A More Vigorous Brand Point of View

This led to a change in the Ballantine’s brand positioning from ‘championing self-reflection’ to inspiring people to ‘live the real you’. The new positioning was deliberately active not passive.

This was expressed by introducing a new brand idea which was far more pointed and so described a more vigorous brand point of view: Stay True.

A Fully Integrated Campaign Idea

This new brand position and attitude was introduced through online film content, digital display, press and posters that featured a number of protagonists, each displaying this sense of conviction and self-belief, all unified under the simple campaign theme, Stay True and asserting proudly ‘This is who I am’. 

The idea played out across different cultural and channel touchpoints. This work embraced a full range of on and offline media as well as experiential activations as a way of delivering a more dynamic and captivating brand story for an audience known to be less responsive to conventional ATL comms.

‘Stay True stories’ was launched in owned and social channels. This was a film initiative where young creative millennials could demonstrate their own commitment to staying true to their beliefs.

We launched global brand partnership with Boiler Room, the global online music broadcasting platform that commissions and streams live music sessions around the world.  Critically, these music sessions featured artists that had held onto their musical convictions and so not sold out commercially, therefore delivering a modern and relevant interpretation of the ‘Stay True’ principles for our Millennial target audience.

The Results:

Work is flexed by market to ensure ideas resonate with local audiences’ predilections. For example, we launched the Ballantine’s Golf Club – where Stay True is about true mastery.


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