CASE STUDY: Ardbeg 'Ticket to ride' integrated campaign

Provided by Royal Mail MarketReach
Direct campaign to sell limited edition whisky to existing fans of the brand and pull in new members to its membership club

What was the Challenge / Background of the Campaign?

Ardbeg is a single malt whisky from Islay, in Scotland, with a successful CRM programme based on the concept of the Ardbeg Committee. Ten years ago, Ardbeg was a distillery on its uppers but is now the fastest growing malt whisky in its sector. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Committee, a limited-edition whisky was created. Taken from rare casks from ten different years, it was named Rollercoaster, to reflect both the ups and downs of the decade and to give an indication of the high-notes and the low-notes in the flavour.

What was the Campaign Objective?

The brief was to sell the special bottling from the online shop, create more momentum for the Committee and pull in new members. Rollercoaster was created to celebrate the success of Ardbeg, develop the Committee and strengthen the brand for more ambitious programmes to come.

What was the Solution?

A 'teaser' mailer went out to 50,000 members of the Committee to alert them to the new campaign and a countdown clock was put on the gates of the Rollercoaster website. On February 15th at 9am, the site would be opened and the bottling would be released for sale. The mailer featured various members of the Committee and distillery figures and contained 'tickets to ride', invitations to go online and play the game, test their knowledge and see a movie. They could sign up for news of celebrations in their part of the world and to bring a friend.

What were the Results?

From a stock of 13,000 bottles created, 11,000 were sold within two weeks. Rollercoaster is now completely sold out, the fastest sell-out of a whisky ever - with each bottle costing £50. Mailing 50,000 people led to 46,096 website visits by 22,560 unique visitors.New members joining the Ardbeg Committee rose 300% since the campaign launch and is ongoing week on week. Total ROI is estimated at 1,525%, with sales of nearly £700,000.

What were the Key Learnings of this Campaign?

Ardbeg's customer retention is impressive - while many companies see maintaining customer loyalty as sending a couple of mailings a year and expecting that to be enough to sustain a relationship, Ardbeg keeps in touch with its Committee members constantly, creating warmth and personality in everything the company does. Direct marketing doesn't have to be about free gifts and special discounts to work - it can be about sharing an interest. Arbeg bottles are flying off the virtual shelves - but there's no hard sell involved.

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BudgetReach & FrequencyTarget AudienceMedia Used
Contact for detailsTotal ROI is estimated at 1,525%
45 - 54
55 - 64
All adults
Campaign LocationCampaign DurationMarketing ObjectiveCampaign Type
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