Last night (Tuesday December 3), I attended a tasting of Balblair vintages. We tasted five whiskies, 2003, 1997, 1990, 1983 and 1969, prefaced by a glass of Balblair’s base spirit.
The activation is described as a "trinity partnership" between Diageo GTME, Schiphol Airport Retail and Schiphol Media. It is the first major "trinity" activation at Schiphol - Europe’s 5th busiest international airport (ACI), with traffic of almost 45 million (2011).
The campaign features adverts, media mast branding, videos, an F1 car in the liquor shop, photo opportunities with cardboard cut-outs of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button and a competition to win VIP tickets to the Belgium Grand Prix. There are also integrated iPads for customers to use to explore the brand.
The Schiphol activation is part of a global Johnnie Walker and Formula 1 campaign, that began in September 2010. Ewan Topping, Johnnie Walker global marketing manager for F1 sponsorship, said: "This is the first time we've done a truly global campaign around F1."
Topping wouldn't give away exact figures but said the global campaign was a "multi-million pound investment".
In Schiphol, the campaign centres around Black Label and Double Black but according to Topping, the brand campaign varies between markets.
"In Eastern Europe and South Africa, for example, the campaign focuses around Red Label," he said.
The Schiphol activation has been running for five weeks and sales of Johnnie Walker are "more than double" year on year.
Louise Jobson, GTME Europe marketing manager Diageo GTME said: “In past activations, we have brought distinct elements of F1 into the terminal, with powerful effect, but this time we’re bringing the whole F1 circuit experience closer to the traveller at multiple touch-points throughout their airport journey."
Peter Jan Rozenberg, director Schiphol Airport Retail said the project took just seven weeks to come together. He added: "At short notice we created in close cooperation with Diageo and Schiphol Group the idea and we stepped inside the circuit together to realise this trinity approach to create a remarkable experience for our customers but also for our staff."
Schiphol Media's Sales Director Gary Mey added: "When a brand, retailer and airport media combine forces they can create a phenomenal impact. As Schiphol has its own advertising saleshouse with Schiphol Media it is a lot easier to get those extra special "one offs" such as, in this case, the branded travellator and temporary single branded store added to the total package. Normally these are never sold as advertising objects."
The Schiphol campaign is due to end at the beginning of July and Topping said he believed the next large-scale brand activation to be in Singapore in September - at the time of the Singapore Grand Prix.
"Our financial year runs from July to July and in 2010/11, the campaign was in 12 markets [including domestic and duty free]. In 2011/12, it will be in over 30," added Topping.
He also said that the company would be doing more around in-bar sampling in Europe "soon" and that the UK market was "becoming more relevant" for Johnnie Walker.