How Paul Feig’s Instagram mixology classes inspired a ‘Bridesmaids’ viewing party.

The director used the event to promote his new gin.

Campaign: Bridesmaids’ Viewing Party
Company: Artingstall’s Brilliant London Dry Gin
Agency partners: The Door and 42 West
Duration: September 24, 2020

Director Paul Feig threw a virtual Zoom viewing party of his hit 2011 film Bridesmaids to promote his new spirit Artingstall’s Brilliant London Dry Gin.

Strategy
A long-term client of PR firm 42 West, Paul Feig is best-known for directing, with a body of work that includes Bridesmaids, Freaks and Geeks and Spy. However, he is also an “avid fan of spirits and mixology,” said Charlie Dougiello, The Door’s founder and CEO. In February 2020, Feig launched his own spirit Artingstall’s Brilliant London Dry Gin.

Going into the summer, the gin was only available in certain parts of Canada and Los Angeles, California. By elevating its profile and getting the brand in front of potential distributors, the campaign was intended to increase its reach.

Tactics
The idea for the campaign germinated in late spring. Feig, like everyone else, was at home. During quarantine, he started doing live mixology sessions with his wife on Instagram.

“He has an amazing sense of humor,” Dougiello said. “His cocktail classes were a big hit for people who were drinking and stuck at home.”

These included a slew of brides who were forced to cancel their weddings because of the pandemic.

“That has to be hard for people who have been planning for a while, which rang a bell,” Dougiello said. “‘What if we did a really fun virtual distraction type of event, pushed it out and made it available to all the brides and bridesmaids?’”

The campaign team envisioned Feig hosting the event, playing virtual bartender and making classic gin-based drinks.

Of course, Bridesmaids was the obvious movie choice. Artingstall partnered with Family Promise, a nonprofit helping homeless families, pledging to make a $1 donation for each person who registered for the watch party.

No advertising dollars were spent on the campaign. Leading up to the screening, which took place on September 24, Feig did more than a dozen interviews with various press outlets. The brand also sent 15 boxes to influencers, including Bridesmaids star Melissa McCarthy. The boxes included a bottle of Artingstall’s Brilliant London Dry Gin, a shaker and a martini glass.

The team didn’t expect McCarthy to post about it, but she did.

“She gave us a three-minute Instagram commercial for the gin...she was making cocktails with it,” Dougiello said. “That was the topper for me.”

Results
The campaign generated more than 25 earned media placements, including write-ups in the Hollywood Reporter, Glamour, Access Hollywood, Good Morning America Digital, New York Post and Brides.

More than 1,400 people registered for the event and Artingstall’s increased the amount it donated to Family Promise from $1,400 to $2,500.

More than 700 people logged on for the Zoom viewing party, in which Feig shared behind-the-scenes stories from shooting the film. During the viewing party, the audience peppered him with more than 500 questions.

This article first appeared on prweek.com.

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