The Glenlivet Modernizes Sampling with The Dram Room

Posted on by Patty Odell

Take a walk through The Glenlivet’s experiential, multi-sensory pop-up sponsoring food festivals

Glenlivet Dram Room
The Glenlivet Dram Room in action.

When a visitor steps into The Glenlivet Dram Room, he or she is greeted with a dram of The Glenlivet 12 single-malt scotch to set the tone for what’s to come.

The brand is traveling across the country with an experiential pop-up to mix and mingle with its 30-to-40 year old urban, tech-savvy male target where they like to hang—food festivals. The idea is to capture their attention while they’re in a culinary curious mindset to engage in the multi-sensory experience. That would be places like San Francisco’s Taste of the Nation in March, followed by New York’s Taste of the Nation in April and LA’s Taste of the Nation on June 5.

“When we began digging more into our consumer we found that taste and flavor were very important and identified culinary as a good place to reach that consumer,” says Karla Dover, senior manager of experiential marketing, who markets The Glenlivet for parent Pernod Ricard USA. “We wanted to stand out in what can be a cluttered space and bring the brand to life in an experiential way on a day when they are interacting with a lot of brands and tastes and flavors.”

In this new era of sampling, The Glenlivet, and its agency partner Grow Marketing, use multiple types of modern sampling, from digitized samples to smart delivery channels, to encourage visitors to try its spirits.

The Aroma Installation

The Aroma Station is a hands-on aroma installation that contains pure essential oils that represent each of the flavor notes of The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve, 12-, 15-, and 18-year-old scotch. As an example, guests start the experience by pressing a button to dispense the aroma of Founder’s Reserve before individually experiencing the pineapple, marzipan and hazelnut notes that make up the flavor profile of the spirit. As they make their way through the other flavors, consumers gain a deeper understanding of the multiple flavor notes that give each expression its distinct character.

Digitizing Sampling

While scotch is often thought of as a drink served in a warm dram and enjoyed during intimate moments from a homey leather armchair, this is the era of the cocktail and The Glenlivet is making noise there too.

A digitized sampling channel, The “Find Your Flavor” drink machine, personalizes the user’s experience. Visitors enter their contact information and then answer a series of questions that uncover their own unique flavor preferences, which the program analyzes to determine which cocktail the guest would enjoy most. The machine then dispenses the exact proportion of each ingredient to create the sample-sized cocktail or neat dram followed by a bartender adding the finishing garnish.

“Find Your Flavor speaks to the mixability of Founder’s, that’s something we want to change consumer perception about,” Dover says. “We feature two signature cocktails with Founder’s. We’re showing a different side of scotch and the mixability of it. It’s one of the key ways for us to keep the brand modern and engage new consumers.”

Digitized sampling is an efficient way for brands to collect consumer information for remarketing. The benefits are that consumers have shown explicit interest in the brand and have willingly given their personal information in exchange for an experience with the brand. The brand then has the opportunity to follow up. A thank you email is sent to those who use the The Glenlivet drink machine, with a cocktail recipe that includes their favorite flavor note and links to e-commerce partners where they can purchase the spirits.

Glenlivet Dram Room
A visitor takes a photo to share with his social circles.

Branded signage around the space encourages guests to snap a photo of their cocktail and share it on social media tagging @TheGlenlivet_US and using the #DramRoom hashtag.

“With this sponsorship we’re hoping to tap into a consumer passion—and then there’s the element of the live experience to create a deeper engagement,” says Ashley Schachner, director of experiential marketing, Pernod Ricard. “The only way to amplify in the live event is to use that technology to share those experiences out through social. We want to create something they want to share, but in the end the true experience is the live experience.”

Ashley Schachner
Don’t miss Ashley Schachner and other top marketers at Masters of Brand Activation, June 13 in NYC.

The History

The Dram Room, with all its experiential and interactive elements, is also designed to bring the sights, sounds and flavors of Speyside, The Glenlivet’s distillery in Scotland. Part of the sampling experience is to not only sample the brand’s marks, but to also learn about the distillation process, brand history and versatility of the iconic scotch.

So far, The Dram Room has popped up in Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. As of the 8th stop, 15,000 consumers had received samples, a core KPI for measuring the success of the program in addition to impressions, number of festival attendees and pr. The goal is 25,000 samples and the space is also used to entertain large accounts and local sales teams.

The brand does plenty of sampling elsewhere, like massive whiskey shows, but The Glenlivet Dram Room food festival sponsorships is The Glenlivet’s tent pole sampling activation this year and is the evolution of the brand-owned tasting experience, “Nights of Passage” that traveled to different markets to provide education around the category of single malt scotch, the different The Glenlivet marks and a tasting tour. For example, in New York there were 10 different sessions over one week seating 120 people at a time.

“Nights of passage ran for five years and was great in bringing new people into the brand with a more traditional tasting tour,” says Gabrey Means, co-founder and creative director at Grow Marketing, which handles the Dram Room for The Glenlivet. “Now we’re out there engaging lots of people at the event. It’s a totally different approach.”

Related articles:

Enjoy Life Foods Goes Product Sampling in a Yellow School Bus

Degree Deodorant Samples New Product with Dry Cleaner


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