Glenlivet and Sundance Showcase Notable Men as Novice Drinkers

In order to reach a new generation of drinkers, whisky brand The Glenlivet, which calls itself “the single malt that started it all,” sought to replicate the experience of sitting down and having a drink with an intellectual peer.

The result is “Single Stories,” a video series in partnership with the Sundance Channel, which focuses on single moments in the lives of so-called notable men and explores how those moments impacted their lives and careers.

The series includes Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston, director/producer Ed Burns, chef Eric Ripert, advertising executive Andy Spade, and Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa, who are founders of the eyewear brand Warby Parker.

For his part, Cranston has two “Single Stories,” including a moment in childhood that shaped him and his parenting style, as well as a moment from his first acting class.

Participants came to the set with their story and spent an hour with the brand, which helped create what Lisa Eisenpresser, head of development at The Story Lab, calls “raw, authentic” content.

Glenlivet worked with agency partners Vizeum and The Story Lab on the campaign.

“We said, ‘We don’t want to hear anything you’ve ever discussed in an interview,'” Eisenpresser says. “We wanted that pivotal moment when they could have gone left, but they went right. That’s really all the preparation we gave these gentlemen.”

The brand distributed 90-second stories on the Sundance Channel and website, as well as Web-only 60-second videos categorized as “wisdom pieces.”

Eisenpresser says the brand worked with Sundance because “it is synonymous with the art of intimate storytelling” and the agencies identified figures that “really resonate with the target and are great storytellers” so viewers “felt like they were right in the room and having a drink, processing life’s great moments.”

The spots ran on TV beginning at the end of October, which enabled the brand to “leverage [Cranston’s] amazing awards sweep and run [for the AMC series Breaking Bad],” Eisenpresser says.

In addition, some video content – including a Cranston video – is only available to Guardian members, which “enabled us to really drive sign-ups to the loyalty club,” she says.

Guardians are members of the brand’s “club of whisky enthusiasts.”

Eisenpresser says the videos have great share rates – especially the Cranston video – which “kind of proved what we said – a story well told is worth sharing,” she says.

Indeed, Cranston’s is the most popular of the videos on YouTube, with 157,000 views as of March 3: 

While the program as it stands is complete, Eisenpresser doesn’t rule out the possibility of a second season, which she calls, “TBD,” and says, “I myself would love to see some women [next time].”

According to Eisenpresser, the videos “achieved the goal of being able to mirror that one-on-one drinking experience that the Glenlivet consumer enjoys and being able to create an artistic impression of what it feels like to sit with a close friend and process moments of life.”

That’s because “Single Stories” resulted from the insight that novice single malt drinkers and Glenlivet gentlemen prefer “one-on-one drinking occasions where emotional sharing of moments creates a powerful, lasting personal connection with the brand,” a rep says.

In addition, Glenlivet is asking consumers to share their own “Single Stories” with other Guardians on the Glenlivet website, asking, “What experiences opened the door for you to become the person you are today? What everyday moment has had a real impact on your life?”

In order to participate, consumers must first become Guardians via Facebook or a manual sign-up.

Eisenpresser did not have figures for the number of participants to date.

The campaign was pushed with media buys on sites like Forbes, Salon, Tasting Table, and YouTube TrueView, as well as the brand’s Facebook page, she says.

Glenlivet has 121,000 likes and @TheGlenlivet has 6,600 followers.

Founded by George Smith, The Glenlivet says it has been crafted in the Livet Valley in Scotland’s Speyside region since 1824.

It is a Pernod Ricard brand.

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