Hendrick’s is a Gin that has been introduced in the market in 1999 and it is the first ever gin to be infused with rose and cucumber. Hendrick’s has used this unusual trait as the main pillar of its brand name and has built both its image and aesthetic around it.
The photos above reveal an aesthetic that the marketing team is following with consistency, an aesthetic of a curiosity cabinet or a Victorian collection, an era loved by nerds, steam punks, old school futurists and other subcultures that have gained popularity by the rise of the hipster fashion the past years. Especially in the U.K. which is the main market of Hendrick’s gin. So just by the product’s design Hendrick’s Gin has already built a very strong and loyal fan base.
By taking advantage of the Worlds Cucumber Day and using it as a day to celebrate Hendrick’s gin instead, the marketing team launched the campaign Cultivate the Unusual. The campaign had three main stages that are being analyzed further down below.
The campaign started with a publication on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) about an experiment run by the researcher Graham Brown of the University of Sydney on how the cucumbers can sense and react on different stimuli such as music, fragrance, touch etc. Along that came an invitation to everybody worldwide to take part in this experiment by cultivating their own cucumber plants and interacting with them.
Hendrick’s sent to every participant a box of soil, cucumber seeds and tools to take care of the plant along with a leaflet encouraging them to interact with their seedling and of course making sure to remind them to post the progression on social media. By doing this not only did the firm stay true to their branding, embracing the peculiarity that is to talk or tuck in for the night a plant, but also created a fun atmosphere around the campaign that could be pleasant for both hipsters and the mainstream crowd. That way the brand is already establishing its goal of demonstrating the curiously, surreal personality of Hendrick’s gin. Through humor it is also widening its audience. To make sure that this engagement is accessible to all, there was also an option of ‘’adopting’’ a cucumber through Facebook and watch it grow virtually, an homage to the early 90’s and games such as Tamagotchi.
But Hendrick’s did not rest to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. An artistically formed series of Youtube videos was made for further promotion of the campaign. Through one minute videos a researcher demonstrates the process of cucumber cultivation by humanizing it. Using sound effects, references to daily life and relatable jokes these videos are viral material and binge watching worthy.
Except from using social media Hendrick’s organised targeted activations at key airport locations,such as the Cloud Bar at Singapore Changi Airport, the London Stansted, Glasgow Airport etc. At the airport stands travelers were offered the chance to enjoy the original Hendrick’s & Tonic. The marketers chose iconic branding style, unusual furniture and theater pieces, such as wheelbarrows and hothouses in order to attract customers to the stand. Costumers were able to prepare the cucumber with the Hendrick’s Hand Pump Slicer, a device that cuts cucumber to slices, ready to be added to the cocktail. With the purchase of a Hendrick’s bottle, customers were offered a 50ml Hendrick’s bottle and with the purchase of two bottles, a tea cup, cucumber scented candle. Those activations started on the World Cucumber Day as a celebration and were further promoted the months after.
Through these activations travelers could engage in the final stage of cultivation and connect with the brand. Though this strategy might seem unusual and peculiar, its main goal was actually to pleasantly surprise the already existing followers of the brand, who are used to these eccentric activations and also attract new consumers, with a fun and engaging way. Sales data from the promotions confirmed the campaigns success: at Luton Airport sales were up by +35% at the end of May and at Dublin Airport sales of Hendrick’s doubled in the first two weeks.