Jameson Irish Whiskey has today (15 February) launched an international brand campaign with a TV spot starring Irish comedian Aisling Bea.
Brendan Buckley, global marketing director at Jameson owner Irish Distillers, told Campaign: "We hadn't had a new masterbrand campaign that speaks to the master franchise in several years. So we needed to remind and refresh consumers [as to] what the master brand is about."
The "Widen the circle" multimedia work by TBWA\Dublin builds on Jameson's motto that life is "better shared" and invites people to reach out, let others in and enjoy moments of authentic human connection. Buckley said that although the world is emerging from a pandemic, this was not designed to be a post-Covid campaign.
"It just so happens that's incredibly relevant, timely," he said. "We spent two years narrowing our circles, now we're finally able to widen them again. This is not a post-pandemic campaign, this is something we have been about for years. It just happens to be incredibly timely and incredibly of the moment."
Describing the evolution of the brand, he described the campaign as a fresher expression of the brand, but one that retains the brand essence that "a serious whisky that doesn't take itself too seriously".
Working with a female protagonist in the guise of Bea was one of the ways the brand sought to communicate its openness, as it hopes to shed outdated stereotypes of whisky being for men only.
Buckley said: "We don't believe that whisky should be for any particular type of person, and just so happens it was a natural choice for us to work with someone like Aisling. As a female, it's going to be very clear, that this is not a boys club kind of category or boys club brand."
The TV ad – called "That spark" – was directed by Jake Scott through RSA and created by Niall Staines and Niall McDonnell.
Warmth is conveyed in the ad via a storyline of witty, awkward social situations, where people just click. In the spot, a man is shown feeling out of place at a sedate party. But after accepting an invitation from someone looking to "widen their circle", he ends up having a good time. Narration by Bea tracks friendships as they are made, before we see her inviting someone to "pull up a chair" and clink glasses of Jameson.
Part of a multi-year, multichannel investment, the campaign comes ahead of a key period for Jameson, including St Patrick's Day celebrations around the world on 17 March, including a live-streamed performance by Irish post-punk band Fontaines DC.
Beyond St Patrick's Day, Jameson will be looking to extend outreach further through ongoing visibility across the on- and off-trade globally, as well as through influencer, PR and social media outreach. A second TV spot is planned for summer 2022.