Glenfiddich has created the world’s first truly virtual whisky distillery tour, The Glenfiddich Distillery Experience, which allows its Ambassadors to take guests on a very personal guided tasting tour of the brand’s distillery in Dufftown, Scotland. Created by acclaimed UK design agency Purple Creative, it is a virtual journey, filmed from the point of view of a visitor, allowing guests to experience the magic of the distillery from anywhere in the world.
The Glenfiddich Distillery Experience is part of an integrated communications campaign from the world’s most awarded single malt Scotch whisky, with an increased focus on digital communication and relationship marketing.
Offering consumers a memorable, educational and engaging experience in the company of Glenfiddich’s award-winning Brand Ambassadors is a key part of the marketing campaign.
The Glenfiddich Distillery Experience
One of Glenfiddich’s Ambassadors guides guests through the tour/tasting, via a beautifully animated map of the distillery, illustrated by Alex Wells, which has 11 key locations on it, each associated with a different single malt tasting.
As he/she 'visits' a particular location on the map, the animation turns to live action, and guests follow various craftsmen from the distillery, including the Malt Master and the Head Cooper.
In the experience, each location is associated with a different single malt. For example, the cooperage is where guests would try the Glenfiddich 18 Year Old, a variant with distinctive of oak notes; Warehouse 8, home to the Solera Vat innovation, is where they would taste Glenfiddich 15 Year Old; Brian Kinsman, the Malt Master, creating whisky innovations in his Pioneering Room is where Ambassadors can try the latest Glenfiddich pioneering malts, like Age of Discovery.
Ian Millar, Glenfiddich Global Brand Ambassador, said: “ The Glenfiddich Distillery Experience is without doubt the most valuable tool our ambassadors have ever had. It engages audiences, and provides an insight into our production processes that no verbal explanation could ever hope to achieve.”
Coralie Vial, Glenfiddich Brand Manager, said: “Our ambassadors deliver tastings to people with all levels of whisky knowledge, all over the world, so the programme had to be as flexible as possible, allowing them access to all the information they needed. It had to evoke Glenfiddich’s pioneering spirit, provide a premium consumer experience and be the next best thing to putting our guests on a plane and flying them to Scotland.”
Gary Westlake, Founder & Creative Director, Purple Creative, added: “The reward for us in creating a virtual distillery tour, is that the people experiencing it don’t even notice the vast amount of back-end technology and design that went into it. Instead they are focused on the storytelling, the wonderful history, the experience of watching master craftsmen at work and then tasting the results. We give the Ambassadors the keys to the distillery – and let them take their guests on a seamless journey.”
The brief to Purple was to create a memorable, educational and engaging experience that would have word-of-mouth appeal. Moreover the brand was keen to embark on a more pioneering strategy than the boring standard tasting format. What’s more they had to engage guests with any level of whisky knowledge and appeal to Glenfiddich’s diverse global audience.
The agency held extensive consultations at the Glenfiddich Ambassador Conference, and the overwhelming message was that the “best way to excite people about Glenfiddich is to fly them over to our distillery in person.”
That was the inspirational moment, and led Purple to create a distillery that guests could virtually visit from wherever they were in the world.
Alex Wells’ unique illustration style was chosen for its visual impact and beautifully intricate, evocative and authentic representations of the distillery.
His illustrations have been animated and used on the homepage, as a map that accentuates the topography of the Valley of the Deer; roll-over states that show the inside of the distillery locations, like warehouses and the still house; and used as the key image on the accompanying tasting map – on which guests put their relevant Glenfiddich whiskies.
The animation of the distillery process – designed to be contemporary and memorable – was hand-drawn by Olga Frolova, designer at Purple, and then animated in After Effects by UNIT.
Purple appointed Gloss Media to film the locations, and UNIT to deliver the post production, including integrating illustration with live footage, and creating CGI animations of the whisky process.
The film was directed by Richard Carroll, and shot on a Canon 5D camera, with a steady cam rig to accentuate the journey and visitor POV, which has an extreme depth of field, to enhance the film’s cinematic feel.
Unlike an online experience, all the navigation is hidden, so the visual journey isn’t interrupted; yet the Ambassadors know they can access all the content they need, or will be asked about, in a few clicks.
The Tour was built as a hardware-accelerated Adobe Air desktop app, a cross-platform framework that allows users to run web applications from their desktop.