Royal Salute criticises ‘faceless’ luxury brands as it repositions as ‘genuinely British’

Whisky brand Royal Salute has launched a global campaign, without the help of an ad agency, to establish its new vision as a modern luxury brand and highlight its British aristocratic credentials.

The ‘Bohemian Aristocracy’ campaign will run over the next two years and will be supported by social, press, in-store and digital activity.

Royal Salute’s global brand director Vadim Grigorian told Marketing Week that the brand was previously trying to please Asian markets “a little too much”, but that it now wants to have more global appeal.

As a result, the whisky brand, which is owned by Pernod Ricard, is eager to highlight its “unique” British heritage. The brand was launched in 1953 in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the day of her coronation.

Grigorian explained: “The brand is undergoing a repositioning to really establish itself as a genuine British luxury whisky brand, which is actually quite unique. Even though Scotch whiskies are produced in Scotland, there is no brand that utilises the codes of luxury to define itself.”

“There are some [brands], who talk about their little Scottish village or their beautiful lake, but then they talk about their big behemoth brand, which actually looks very international [and is contradictory]. That’s why many people believe some of the biggest Scotch brands are American, but I think luxury brands should not be faceless or origin less.”

Creating a creative crew

To develop the campaign, the brand decided not to work with any agencies. Instead, it appointed a “creative circle” which includes various “influencers” from a variety of creative sectors.

It, for example, organised the campaign’s shoot in collaboration with fashion and art photographer Michelangelo Di Battista and has appointed French perfume designer Barnabé Fillion as its first product creative advisor. Fillion is said to be working closely with Royal Salute’s master blending team on developing new products and taking inspiration from the worlds of art and contemporary culture.

Grigorian added: “We want to continue this in different levels and aspects of the brand, which is why I created this circle of experts who contribute to the development of the brand. Rather than relying on agencies that can sometimes lack creative flair, we work with real experts that understand what they’re talking about.”

As a result, Royal Salute is eager to keep its creative circle close for a “long time”.

He concluded: “I don’t understand when brands change people very often. I believe that you’re only as good as the people that surround you. So [the circle] is going to continue – it is only through continuity and the same consistent effort that the brand can really re-emerge and make a difference.”



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  1. Martin Ballantine 3 Mar 2016

    The models appear to be unable to put coats on properly. Is this what British people are meant to do?

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