Cannes Lions

Raw Craft with Anthony Bourdain


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Today’s Scotch drinkers and next generation consumers prefer the authenticity and quality of artisanal products. The Balvenie connected with them through a shared love and respect for handcrafted products and the people who make them. We forged an unprecedented partnership with celebrity chef and television producer Anthony Bourdain and created a new original online series that led viewers on a journey of discovery, unearthing captivating and emotional human stories of true craftsmanship in America. The ‘Raw Craft with Anthony Bourdain’ original film series also paid a visit to The Balvenie’s Scotland distillery to explore the time-honored traditions of craft preserved in their process. Consumers who appreciate and seek products that are truly handcrafted would make a strong connection to the brand and its longstanding dedication to the craft of Whisky making. The series was a natural extension of Bourdain’s sphere of influence while wholly belonging in the Balvenie’s craft world.


To engage our audience online we created a six-part online film series and content marketing campaign documenting the works of the committed individuals at the forefront of the American craft movement. Over nine months, each episode was teased, released and housed on our bespoke Balvenie ‘Raw Craft’ YouTube channel. The series was teased and promoted through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels of The Balvenie and Anthony Bourdain. We also created and released a series of snackable video content titled, ‘Anthony Bourdain On…’ that brought viewers behind the scenes with candid commentary and additional dialogue and insight from Bourdain on a range of topics from ‘getting better with age’ to ‘when to drink whisky’. A modest media campaign targeted consumers from lifestyle categories outside of traditional Scotch drinkers, thereby extending the reach of the brand among a highly desirable demographic.


The campaign resulted in over 27 million completed views. At the height of the campaign, Balvenie consumption was up 40% year over year and up 30% versus category, at a time when the category remained flat. Within six months of the campaign’s start, The Balvenie in the USA had the largest YouTube channel in the liquor business globally. Over 12,000+ unsolicited positive comments underscored the captivating content and expressed a desire for more.

We took a risk by bringing a boisterous and outspoken celebrity known for his disdain for perpetual brand endorsers to a brand known for its tradition and reserved personality. The brand was bold to put itself in the background but there was never any question who was responsible for bringing these compelling stories to life. This unimpeachable content and Anthony Bourdain’s genuine love of craft, meant the world took notice and a beloved original series was born.

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