A product launch strategy that lacks relevance

let’s begin

Picture the scene last Wednesday: I'm a whisky collector and I hear about Talisker holding an event with a strong social product launch strategy

I’m excited!

I get myself on the guest list.

I get there and wow am I ready to battle the 25ft fake storm they have created to herald the launch of their new SKU, Talisker Storm.

As I arrive with my fiancé, we are politely advised that there are a lot of people ready to battle said faux-storm and that we should head upstairs to enjoy a measure of the newest amber nectar on the block before donning wellington boots and a mac to be pelted with water during the warmest evening of the year so far.

Up we went and promptly received our free dram each.

I was impressed by the size of the measure we were given and the gorgeous Talisker whisky glasses they were being served in.

Everything was going really well and we were happy that we could try the Storm before battling the storm.

Once I took that first sip I knew I wanted a bottle of it, and I will go and get one when I get a chance as it was gorgeous and could appeal to the more discerning and those still learning about their whisky tastes.

I also got to meet Michael Fish, the legendary weatherman who knows a thing or two about storms.

As we stood on the balcony of The Design Museum taking in a view that us London folk often take for granted, we started to overhear conversations around us.

“This is disgusting” chimed one heathen.

Another piped up with “eugh, I would never drink whisky, this one is rank.”

As marketeers and strategy consultants, Kirsty and I looked at each other and realised the Talisker Storm had a cloud hovering over it. There were a fair few high quality journalists and whisky purists but around 60% of the people there were just there for a free drink and even then barely touched it (see images).

The irony being of course that as I’m only starting off on my whisky blogging adventure (link to follow when I am confident enough in the content), I would not have been invited or heard about it unless it had been all over the marketing and drinks business press but part of me almost wishes that it had been made more exclusive.

Potential product launch strategy ideas I toyed with as I tried to work out what I would have done include:

Limit access or qualify access

Whilst getting as many people involved as possible causes a bit of buzz, fewer high quality attendees is always preferable to masses of never-gonna-purchasers.

A sense of discovery

Tweet and get industry icons to tweet out some sort of ‘if you can answer this question’ or ‘take a photo of you doing x’ to get invited to the launch.

Gifting instead of or as well as sampling

Give the product or a Talisker glass as a gift for completing the Storm ‘assault course’ (there were no takeaways).

Remove veto factors

Have an alternative beverage available – as counter intuitive as this may sound, I often work with my clients to remove the ‘veto factor’ in restaurants or bars so that the brand’s core product I’m working with is hyper relevant but that by offering a standard, nondescript alternative we remove the negative commentary that can damage the perception and enjoyment of those around the brand.

In summary

All in all I am glad the product spoke volumes for the brand and how gorgeous their product is, just felt a little let down about the lack of purity around me and the tragic waste of high quality amber nectar by heathens who do not understand the history and heritage and craftsmanship that goes into every single drop, lets hope for a more targeted product launch strategy next time.

Tags: EventsLaunchesTaliskerTalisker StormTalisker Storm launch


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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