The Night Bar: Delivering Legendary Status To Pernod Ricard’s Festival Of Brand Engagement

Creating a multi-brand, immersive experience to engage and inspire one of the toughest audiences: the internal brand owners and sales directors themselves.


Overview

With some of the best-known drink brands in the world under their umbrella, Pernod Ricard takes a unique approach – de-centralising global sales and marketing, allowing each market to create and define their own strategy. The B2B promotional launch is a vital part of the annual sales calendar. 

Engaging local teams and ensuring buy-in at the annual festival of Convivialité, on the private French island of Les Embiez, therefore requires something very special.

In steps… Blonstein.

We were instrumental in helping to build the reputation of this annual event, over several years. From flying in the Red Army Choir for Stolichnaya, to delivering fully-fledged, immersive worlds with a film set aesthetic - creating a New York apartment with lifts and fire escapes for Absolut, complete sections of the Macon for Havana Club and whole Irish pubs for Jameson (that were perfectly copied down to the stains on the pool table).

Les Embiez soon became one of the most impressive activations of its type and infamous among industry insiders.

This culminated in one of the biggest briefs (and challenges) to date: a game-changing, immersive experience to engage even the most jaded of brand marketeers – promoting the night-time edit of Pernod Ricard’s most celebrated brands under one roof.

Challenges & Insight

Each Pernod Ricard brand has its own very distinct identity. 

Blonstein was tasked with creating a cohesive night time experience, incorporating the key brands (Absolut, Kahlua, GH Mumm, Ballantines) yet allowing each to have its own moment in the spotlight. However previously, the brief was B2B but this time we had to show B2C with the guests actually still being the business!

Each of the attendees know the brands very well. They arrive with pre-conceived ideas and with a wisdom to brand marketing.

It was our role to challenge these perceptions, portray the brands in a new light and, through a once-in-a-lifetime experience, remind them of the ethos of each brand and the spirit of the Pernod Ricard portfolio. The ideal end result being greater buy-in from each territory while being immersed in a real audience scenario.


Strategy and Approach 

Blonstein came to the island with big ideas, but importantly ideas that we knew we could deliver.

The island of Les Embiez is normally a French sleepy holiday village owned by the Ricard family and miles from any production support services. Creating an event of this scale and ambition requires meticulous attention to detail and unparalleled planning. Something we thrive on.

It was vital that we tell a story, constructing a clear and concise narrative to inform each element of the guest’s experience and bring the creative to life. Similarly, it was essential to seamlessly weave each brand (and product) into the fabric of the activation. 

Our aim was to transform the existing buildings and greenfield sites into totally immersive worlds, and a world we could party in. 

Introducing The Night Bar.

Solution

The Night Bar was set in a future world - a place where any environment can be enjoyed and anything is possible. Positioned inside an original 40’s town hall transformed into a fantasy anachronistic building nestling within a high-energy, insider’s playground, tucked below futuristic skyscrapers. Multi-cultural influences and a merging of the sensual and the real, the charm of the past and the brilliance of the future accentuated this mashup. 

To really engage each attendee, it was important to take them on a journey. A full 360 immersion, but via a considered and tantalising reveal. Storytelling was paramount and each element was considered with that in mind. 

A play on a dystopian speakeasy, our Night Bar was a slow reveal. Hidden away from plain view behind the façade of a Dim Sum bar through the steaming environment of a working kitchen, setting the scene that this experience was unique to the extreme and accessible only to those in the know.

Once inside, the sprawling set captured the very essence of night time dreams. 20th Century paraphernalia was juxtaposed against a 22nd Century landscape. The tech was mixed with a club installation of found neons and fairground artefacts. Double height galleries with daybeds overlooked the central space. Warm distressed leather banquettes surrounded the dance floor.

An ever-changing LED landscape provided an augmented reality backdrop to the Night Bar. Constantly changing scenes of the beach / sky / sun / desert / sea / dancing inspired attendees to consider the brands in multiple environments. 

The hero feature was an extraordinary revolving bar. Allowing each drink to have their moment, the bar was merchandised brand by brand – moving on after an hour to the next featured drink. The approach allowed their distinct identities to play out, yet the overarching codes of Pernod Ricard remained consistent throughout and all encompassed in the Night Bar environment. It allowed sufficient time to immerse each guest in the story of each brand, adding up to a night like no other.

Results & Learnings

The bar was raised. Well and truly. 

Brands that communicate best on Les Embiez experience greater delivery and impact from their campaigns across all territories. The Night Bar delivered exceptional results for all brands, not only in immediate uptick on orders and commitment to marketing but a longer-term brand affinity that has played out since.

From what Blonstein delivered with this activation came a fully-formed experiential campaign, narrative and toolkit for marketing teams to take away. This provided them the opportunity to showcase the night-time Pernod Ricard edit globally and locally, to enhance cross-merchandising and selling into partners for maxiumum consumer engagement.

Through The Night Bar, Blonstein was able to further cement the legendary status of this annual experience. Job (well) done.



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The Night Bar: Delivering Legendary Status To Pernod Ricard’s Festival Of Brand Engagement

Creating a multi-brand, immersive experience to engage and inspire one of the toughest audiences: the internal brand owners and sales directors themselves.

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Blonstein

020 7247 1151 brian@blonstein.co.uk