BEAM SUNTORY, Chicago / MAKER'S MARK & KITCHENAID / 2019
Maker’s Mark Bourbon has long celebrated its founding makers and those who continue to craft the bourbon today. But with a new wave of craft bourbons entering the market, the brand needed to re-establish its handmade story and drive relevance among a new generation of drinkers, by not just celebrating our makers, but all makers.
As a brand that’s existed for culinary makers from the beginning, KitchenAid recently launched a campaign to connect with them directly. This work spotlights insightful truths about the makers and demonstrates how the brand fuels their culinary creativity with tools designed to get the most out of making.
This is the story of how Maker’s Mark Bourbon and KitchenAid, two iconic American brands with well-known and well-loved products operating in distinct and different categories, discovered a shared language and unique opportunity to come together on social media and in the kitchen to inspire new possibilities.
Together, we developed an activation that seeded our brands top of mind during the biggest makers holiday of the year – and critical sales period – Thanksgiving.
We embraced both our different viewpoints and shared commonalities, partnering together to connect with makers in a meaningful way. Maker’s Mark Bourbon brought its craftsmanship and signature bourbon to the table, while KitchenAid offered its recipe expertise and iconic stand mixer.
This idea sprung from an inherent tension: makers hungered for fresh ideas to put a twist on a holiday soaked in tradition, yet their social feeds reflected more of the same.
To stand out, we created a modern conversation between two traditional brands that, ironically, was about putting a new spin on the Old Fashioned. With a cocktail and cake recipe exchange that brought our products together in unexpected ways, we offered holiday hosts inspiration to mix up something new this Thanksgiving.
Through data analysis and social listening, we identified a target audience that was culturally curious, interested in exploring and experimenting with new foods and drinks, and that saw social as a platform to connect with its passions.
Digging into search and social trends, we discovered many makers were actively looking for advice on what to make for the holidays and relying on Instagram’s visual content and nearly 200 million #foodporn posts to spark inspiration. Most were still engaging with content up until the big day, despite starting to plan weeks in advance.
To ensure our brand integration felt natural to makers and authentic to the call-and-response style, we leveraged Instagram Stories to bounce drink and dessert ideas back and forth, tagging each other to continue the conversation, and driving reach and engagement among our respective audiences.
We timed our activation around the biggest making night of the year, Thanksgiving Eve, to reach highly engaged makers looking for last-minute ideas and overnight inspiration to take their holiday menus to the next level. We worked with on-staff chefs to design unique recipes that brought Maker’s Mark and KitchenAid products together to offer an unexpected twist on Thanksgiving favorites.
Maker’s Mark Bourbon initiated the social conversation using the KitchenAid stand mixer to whip up a batch craft cocktails, followed by KitchenAid adding Maker’s Mark Bourbon to a Bundt cake to infuse the flavors of an Old Fashioned cocktail.
Within 24 hours, we crafted a conversation over Instagram Stories through seven co-branded posts, call-and-response style, to spotlight our products in a seasonally relevant way and inspire new possibilities in the kitchen.
Through the activation, our brands deepened our connection to makers, created mutual brand relevance during a critical sales period and drove strong engagement across key metrics for both Maker’s Mark Bourbon and KitchenAid. Maker’s Mark Bourbon saw a 71% increase above benchmark for social engagement, supporting stronger top-of-mind awareness during the holidays. Similarly, KitchenAid drove a 64% increase in viewership above its social benchmark with more makers feeding off the recipe content, achieving a reach of over 11,000 makers in a 24-hour period.
Together, Maker’s Mark Bourbon and KitchenAid demonstrated our shared commitment to our respective maker audiences and brought to life how our products could inspire new possibilities together.