The campaign, from Tombras, uses their forward approach to tell customers about their whiskey
The campaign, which stars Smooth Ambler co-founders John Little and Johnny Foster, takes their ‘no BS’ approach to tell consumers that they’re only about world-class bourbon and not misleading marketing.
The campaign is the first work to launch since Pernod Ricard (the brand behind Absolut vodka and Jameson whiskey) agreed to buy a majority stake in the small-town West Virginia distillery, Smooth Ambler, in 2016. Adding to their candor and unfiltered approach, the co-founders are not shy about past mishaps. They’re refreshingly honest about a time when they failed to purchase the necessary 10,000 barrels of their popular Old Scout bourbon and ran out.
Since then, the distillery has focused on maintaining stable supplies of their cohesive lineup of three distinct whiskey lines that include Old Scout, Contradiction, and Big Level wheated Bourbon.
The creative strategy behind the campaign required matching the transparency of the co-founders and their brand tagline of ‘All Bourbon, No Bulls**t’. While sticking to the simplicity of their messaging and embodying the brand’s attitude to focus on the bourbon and not distillery ‘tall tales’.
The two spots were filmed in-house at Tombras’s Knoxville studio. This is the first creative work to launch under Tombras’s chief creative officer Jeff Benjamin, since joining the agency in October. The spots will launch on social and YouTube in early December in a national digital campaign.
“In our business, marketing fluff is to be expected. But some of our whiskey-making cohorts engage in everything from ‘highly creative’ adaptation of a half-truth to outright falsehood, in an effort to entice the consumer,” said Smooth Ambler co-founder, Johnny Foster. “We want you to buy our whiskey because we’ve earned the privilege of your spending dollar, not because we’ve successfully built an affinity for our brand on the back of some fraudulent fable. Poetic license and driving without a license aren’t the same thing. Tombras gets that about our DNA and knew how to help us express it.”
“As we dug into the strategy and looked at the category as a whole, we realised there was a lot of truth-stretching. The truth about the brand is that it's boldly, refreshingly transparent,” said Dooley Tombras, president of Tombras. “The Johns have always been honest about their business, their sourcing of bourbon, etc. and it’s that attitude that inspired the brand idea that doubles as the tagline in these spots.”