Monkeying about with whisky.

A Bottle of Whisky for Don Draper

In an episode of the amazing Mad Men series, a young creative offered Don Draper a bottle of whisky as a peace offering after messing up. In line with the perfectly styled Mad Men, the gift was a vintage bottle of Chivas Regal, which, in those days, would have been seen as the epitome of cool and quality.

These days, a young creative would be unlikely to give a bottle of Chivas Regal, he would most likely select a rare malt or a funky blend such as Monkey Shoulder – such is the change in attitude amongst younger savvy drinkers in the west, Whisky producers have been working very hard to create brand personalities that appeal to these younger drinkers, in the knowledge that it is a largely untapped market.

Chivas Regal will always be a hard one to crack, as it has a great history associated with glamour and style. However, it is still a blend and these days the single malts may be the starting point for the aspiring whisky aficionados.

In the face of this increasing challenge, it seems that the Chivas global marketing teams are set on positioning the Chivas Regal 25 year old as a luxury brand that recalls the glamour of the Original Chivas Regal 25. Is it ‘New York luxury in the first decades of the 20th century, remixed for today’?

When we worked with Seagram, as it was then, we created a visitor centre at the Strathisla distillery in Speyside, positioning it as ‘The Home of Chivas Regal’, the Strathisla single malt whisky being a key component of the blend. This allowed the brand to present a physical home to reflect the heritage and quality that the single malts could.

The look and packaging of Chivas Regal has been endlessly tweaked and tinkered with over the decades but essentially it hasn’t changed. Nor really has the proposition, ‘a luxury brand for glamorous people’.

Galloping up the inside however, are all these young pretenders, with wit, shelf appeal and big personalities. Many with great, newly created, brand stories to tell, allowing for great fun and opportunities online and in store.

What would Don think I wonder, what would be his whisky of choice today.

Perhaps Chivas should ask him to promote their timeless brand – now there’s a thought!