Glenlivet fills the internet with diverse whisky drinkers

Dive Brief:

  • The Glenlivet, a scotch whisky owned by Pernod Ricard, has unveiled a new global campaign, dubbed “#BreakTheStereotype,” that seeks to change the Google algorithm to be more reflective of diverse whisky drinkers, according to information shared with Marketing Dive. Scotch whisky is a distinct subset of the broader whiskey category. 
  • As part of the campaign, The Glenlivet is “planting” images in the Google algorithm. When a consumer types “whisky drinker” into Google Images, they will be greeted by an array of photos featuring people of all stripes enjoying whiskey, instead of the usual middle-aged white males such searches typically yield.
  • As whiskey drinkers diversify, many brands have made a conscious effort to reach out to “non-typical” whiskey drinkers. The Glenlivet’s search engine hack is the brand’s latest efforts to diversify and comes less than a month after the brand launched a female-centric campaign starring Anna Paquin in Australia and New Zealand.

Dive Insight:

The Glenlivet’s campaign attempts to both change the perception of whiskey drinkers while also filling the internet with hip young people drinking the scotch whisky, increasing the brand’s profile among millennials. The move comes as whiskey sees an increasingly diverse consumer-base.

“#BreakTheStereotype continues The Glenlivet’s pioneering heritage and shows that we will never be held back by limiting preconceptions. We know there is a diverse range of whisky fans across the globe and that continues to grow — yet the old stereotype surrounding whisky remains. Time for us to change that,” said Miriam Eceolaza, global marketing director for The Glenlivet single malts at Pernod Ricard, in a statement.

The images were taken by Ugandan-British photographer Danny Kasirye and queer Chicanx artist Devyn Galindo. In addition to the diverse subjects, the scotch whisky featured isn’t being drunk out of the standard Glencairn glass neat, but in a variety of different ways, including in cocktails and on the rocks. This is in line with the distillery’s campaign featuring Paquin, who advocates drinking The Glenlivet however the consumer prefers, and not allowing so-called experts to cloud or influence how they drink scotch.

Since 1990, the percentage of women whiskey drinkers has doubled, going from 15% of drinkers to 30%. This notable increase has distillers reaching out to women and other diverse drinkers. The Glenlivet’s efforts are intended to reach out to those consumers in a way that raises brand awareness.

As part of the effort, The Glenlivet has also partnered with Equal Measures, an organization that seeks to deliver greater equity for ethnic minorities and marginalized groups in hospitality. The brand will support the organization through its Education and Mentorship Scheme, providing up to 30 participants with access to qualifications, mentorship and other opportunities. This real-world action could give additional weight to the purpose-driven effort.

Influencing search algorithms to better represent diverse consumers is a tactic embraced by marketers in several industries. Heineken this month sought to fight bias in soccer by buying key AdWords around popular soccer questions to ensure that female achievements were not overlooked. Procter & Gamble brands including Olay and Pantene have also sought to influence algorithms to fight bias.

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