Yeni Rakis new campaign urges consumers to Unrush Your World

Yeni Raki's new campaign urges consumers to 'Unrush Your World'

Here's a confession I feel I should make - I only have 177 Twitter followers. Why am I telling you this? It's got something to do with a dinner event in London this week, where I witnessed a public relations fumble of a very modern hue.

It was the launch of a new marketing campaign for Diageo's Yeni Raki, and about 70 people were packed into the very trendy and very “now” restaurant called Dabbous, tucked in behind Goodge St underground. 

Our host, an earnest young man whose name I failed to catch, was making a speech about Yeni Raki, a Turkish aniseed spirit that embody's the country's spirit of taking things slowly. Indeed, the new marketing campaign is called “Unrush your World”

It was therefore entirely reasonable for our host to ask us, in the spirit of the evening, to put away our smart phones and concentrate on the food and drink before us. Reasonable, that is, if you weren't one of the PR team who organised the event, and who base much of the success of the evening on how many Tweets, pics and posts are sent from impressed guests as they tuck into their food. Cue an exchange of worried glances and eventual assurances to diners that it was OK for them to use their phones.

Because, like it or not, we weren’t there to enjoy the poached quince - we were there to tweet about it and, of course, about the Yeni Raki. Social media hits are the currency of today's public relations, which was why that night I was sat beside a Master of Wine (7,445 Twitter followers), a writer for a men's fashion magazine (10.4k followers) and a former winner of a popular television baking competition (who with 33.1k followers, was the big stack bully of our table).

None of these people have a specific interest in spirits outside of a general food-and-leisure bent, but by inviting them to the dinner and feeding them quince Diageo hoped to remote activate these people's Twitter feeds and burrow into their followers' timelines. A recommend from a trusted Tweeter is worth 10,000 from a corporate entity such as Diageo.

This sort of digital ploy has been going on for some time, but the other week Bacardi took it to the next level with its “Triangle” event in Puerto Rico. Our managing editor, Olly Wehring, was there in person and you can read all about it here

But basically it was a three-day music event on the private island of Palomino for 1,862 guests. Costs must have been astronomical - it was reported superstar DJ Calvin Harris earned a US$1m for an hour set. But Bacardi was looking to win world's social media spotlight and these days there's only two ways of doing that. You either get inventive, like Red Bull's space jump last in 2012, or you spend a lot of money, like... well, Red Bull's space jump, which could not have been cheap.

So what does this mean for the drinks industry as a whole? It means that it must play smarter (or spend more) if it wants to continue accessing the followers of the food and fashion trend setters.

And for me? Well, unless I do something to up my miserly 177 followers, I may never get invited to dinner again.