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Bringing a brand to life for millennials

Chivas Brothers global brand director Mark Thorne explains the thinking behind the #UrbanArtProject launched by Passport Scotch whisky to consolidate its growth among young adults in emerging markets

Mark Thorne Chivas Brothers

Passport, the No.1 Scotch whisky in Angola, and No.2 standard Scotch whisky in Mexico and Brazil unveiled earlier this year an innovative new above-the-line campaign designed to build on the brand’s recent success. (See news item). Passport grew +20% in net sales to reach a record 1.7m cases last year as it continues to consolidate its relevance among young adults in emerging markets.

What is the Passport #UrbanArtProject?
“The #UrbanArtProject is a partnership between Passport Scotch and UK urban artist, Jim Vision. Our goal was to capture the essence of Passport Scotch on a single canvas to create a striking piece of art that forms the basis of the #UrbanArtProject campaign. The project has been brought to life through a limited edition bottle with great standout shelf-appeal.”

Why have you launched the Passport #UrbanArtProject limited edition bottle?
“Through the #UrbanArtProject campaign and the limited edition bottle we will seek to consolidate our rapid growth among millennial consumers in key markets.”

Where is it available?
“Passport #UrbanArtProject is available in five markets including Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria and Poland.”

How did you identify urban art as a passion point among millennials in emerging markets?
“Urban art is an integral part of our cities, it gives young people an outlet for creativity and is vital to a lively street culture. Urban art was in turn a natural fit for Passport Scotch as it really allows us to push the boundaries of creativity in the whisky category.”

Why did you choose to partner with Jim Vision to bring the #UrbanArtProject to life?
“After seeing Jim Vision’s work, we knew we wanted him to lead our first ever Passport Scotch #UrbanArtProject and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Jim’s creativity was allowed to flow without constraint, which resulted in this fantastic piece of art that brings our values to life and we hope it will continue to inspire our consumers in emerging markets around the world.”

What is it about Passport that appeals to millennials in emerging markets?
“Passport has indeed enjoyed great success amongst millennials who are drawn to the free spirited, colourful and approachable personality of the Scotch. The creamy fruitiness and slightly smoky finish of Passport is also very appealing to consumers in developing markets.”

In which markets in particular are Passport sales strong? Why are they strong in these regions?
“Passport is the fastest growing blended Scotch (that sells more than 200,000 cases) and grew 20% in net sales to reach a record 1.7m cases sold in the year ending June 2015. It is the no.2 standard Scotch in Brazil and is also performing strongly in Angola and Mexico.

“Millennials in emerging regions have an increasingly global outlook on life and are using social media and quality international spirits, such as Passport, to demonstrate their personalities and aspirations.”

Where do you see room for growth for Passport within these markets and further afield? How will the #UrbanArtProject bottle help Passport to get there?
“I think Passport has great potential in all emerging markets with their growing middle classes who are more and more attracted to international spirits brands such as Passport.

“The #UrbanArtProject bottle will boost Passport awareness and increase our visibility on shelves whilst breaking the conventions and the codes of Scotch. Passport is offering an alternative expression to what it means to be a Scotch whisky, which is very appealing for people who like exploring new opportunities.”

With so many brands competing for consumer attention, what do you think will make Passport #UrbanArtProject stand out on shelf? 
“I think the bold artwork Jim Vision created brings the #UrbanArtProject bottle to life and makes it stand out on-shelf in a unique way that will capture the imagination of young people.” 

What future plans do you have for Passport and the other brands you represent?
“We are excited to bring Passport’s ‘To a new world’ above-the-line campaign to Mexico in the coming months. The campaign in also being supported by advertising in Angola and Brazil, the world’s fifth market for Scotch by volume.”

11 April 2016