Fifty Sheds of Grey

This month’s marketing event is, of course, Valentine’s Day. And what could be more romantic than the gift of whisky on Valentine’s Day?

Well, quite a lot apparently – yet another lesson I learnt the hard way.

Whilst I exploit the most* romantic day of the year day to bring in few more bottle sales, my research leads me to believe that whisky isn’t the first thing most people associate with romance. Fools.

There’s so much magic in the journey of whisky from grain to glass, that you’re never far away from a romantic image – crashing waves, rolling hills, fields of barley, stags in the mist and a beardy bloke nosing whisky in a warehouse with requisite mood lighting. Marketing staples.

That said, as much as I like a good pair of antlers on my whisky bottle, it’s not the kind of romance we need for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s is the gooier kind of romance. The stuff of tummy tickles and special cuddles, both of which are rare marketing themes in this industry.

And on Valentine’s Day, romance is further tweaked, taking on more prescriptive qualities so that people like me can sell you things. It’s all about leveraging synergies** between customer, brand and Valentine’s Day.

We can’t have you making grand romantic gestures that cost nothing and mean everything, so marketing departments get to work to remind you of how to be romantic in more profitable terms. And we’re no exception.

You will need:

  • Flowers. Find something expensive, red and with a stem that can puncture skin, and they will love you forever. Well, once the wound is appropriately dressed. The less dangerous daffodil will do, but we all know they’re only a quid a bunch at this time of year so tread carefully.
  • A restaurant booking. You’ll get an hour slot where you can dine equally well with the people next to you as long as you keep your elbows in. Expect the pleasure of a themed menu that’s essentially a modified version of the Christmas one but with a free glass of prosecco (instead of pigs in blankets though!).
  • Some fizz. You can’t rely on your free glass of prosecco to usher in the romance, so you’ll need something chilled and fizzy for when you get home from your restaurant ordeal. Presumably you’re celebrating another year without your relationship falling apart which, on reflection, was on the cards after the whole Ikea debacle*** so get something nice.
  • Connect. As you gaze longingly into each other’s eyes, pause and take in that moment of deep love and joyful union… with your heart thumping and stomach full of butterflies, take a breath, prepare yourself, move close and… pour a Single Malt Whisky from The Sipping Shed – small batch and single cask whisky of extraordinary quality. Because you’re worth it.

Home cooks may swap out the restaurant in favour of flexing their culinary mussels (intended), but you may find it difficult to recreate the restaurant atmosphere without shoehorning another 28 people into your living room and paying someone to politely hurry you through each course before you wash up.

Pretty simple formula though. Flowers, eat, fizz, gaze longingly, whisky. Then slip off to the bedroom. Valentine’s Day is a Monday this year so let’s not get carried away – it’s an early start on Tuesday and I haven’t done Wordle yet.

But it’s plain to see that if you’re following the Valentine’s marketing plan properly, then the apex of your night is the shared experience of whisky. Boom!

At this point I’ll go through our range’s romantic credentials in the style of Our Graham**** from Blind Date:

  • Our Aultmore 11 year old has spent more than a decade carefully maturing in a sherry cask and it’s an absolute cracker. Take this sparky Speysider home and it’ll be fireworks for you tonight.
  • Funky farmyard peat and sweet PX sherry come together in our fabulous Ardmore 12 year old. This is an adventurous dram so it’s not for the faint hearted, makes sure you know the safe word before you dive into this one.

Which one will you be taking home tonight…

Yeah, it doesn’t work does it…

Bit sleezy.

Just buy our whisky because it’s very good and it will be the perfect way to finish off a day of marketing madness dressed up as romance. Plus, I can’t spend any more time on this as I’ve got work to do on the strategy for our next big whisky event – Pancake Day!


* Least

** No idea – old boss used to say it. I said it a few times and people seemed impressed.

*** I did not throw the first meatball. She did!

**** You know. Graham. From Blind Date.

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