The Chivas Brothers campaign for aged whiskies

The Chivas Brothers' campaign for aged whiskies

The announcement from Pernod Ricard's Chivas Brothers division today that it has lined up a cross-brand campaign for its Scotch whisky portfolio, spikes curiosity thanks to its somewhat generic approach.

Focusing on the definition of the age statement for Scotch will surely benefit competing brands as much as it will help Ballantine's, Chivas Regal, Royal Salute and The Glenlivet. But, gallant though this may seem, Chivas believes, as a major player in the aged blends category, it is well-placed to benefit from any rising tide.

The division, which handles all of Pernod's Scotch whisky output as well as its gin stable, has undertaken research that shows the global Scotch consumer finds the age statement difficult to understand.

A survey of 2,000 whisky drinkers in nine markets – Brazil, China, France, India, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, the UK and the US – found that 94% believe that the age of the whisky is “an important indicator of quality”. Of those surveyed, 86% expect to pay a premium for whiskies with an age statement. However, when asked for the correct definition of the age statement, only 10% picked correctly – the age statement refers to the age of the youngest whisky contained in the bottle.

There is certainly an opportunity here for Scotch producers. Indeed, anything that would educate consumers deserves credit in these marketing-driven times. The problem here, however, is how one whisky company can use this to its advantage over its competitors.

Survey results like these open up all sorts of opportunities for generic bodies, not for individual companies. How is Chivas pushing any kind of USP by claiming that “The Age Matters”?

The creative looks very generic, for sure.

However, if Chivas handles the campaign wisely, it might benefit from the push more than its peers. The company will use a label (below) on all of its aged whiskies, across its portfolio.

Guaranteed age whisky

If the firm can get the message across to consumers consistently, then there's every chance the consumer will hunt out the label, which will need to be prominent on all Chivas bottles across the board.

In discussion after today's presentation, the communications director for Chivas, Vanessa Wright, told just-drinks that the firm would welcome sharing the labelling with other producers.

Should pride not get in the way, and considering the broad strokes of the campaign, this could certainly provide a boost for the entire category.