A Unique Beaver-Powered Commercial
TV Commercial Review
Heart or Humor
The ad features hardworking beavers
In an attempt to attract younger consumers and redefine the whisky category, Whyte & Mackay has launched a distinctive TV campaign for its blended brand, The Woodsman Whisky. Created by Mr. President, the ad positions the drink as a “well-earned” reward and celebrates the woodcraft at the heart of the product.
The commercial features hardworking beavers as mascots, showcasing their efforts in chopping down trees, gnawing on bark, and building a riverside hot tub. Instead of resorting to CGI, the ad employed specially crafted puppets created by British model maker Jonathan Saville and led by puppeteer expert Alexander Berchert. Filmed in the picturesque mountain village of Govedartsi, Bulgaria, the TV campaign was directed by John Riche through Untold Studios.
The Woodsman Whisky, which joined Whyte & Mackay’s portfolio in 2018, is a contemporary scotch perfect for mixing and making cocktails. Its smooth finish of vanilla with a hint of woodsmoke comes from a mix of freshly built oak casks and double-scorched Bourbon barrels.
The ad cleverly defies conventional whisky commercials by avoiding clichéd imagery and incorporating a younger audience skew with a whisky and coke serve. Airing during prime TV slots, the campaign will also be supported by VOD, social, and online channels.
Using puppetry and a unique storyline, Whyte & Mackay aims to make The Woodsman Whisky stand out and engage younger drinkers who have remained elusive to spirits marketers. The beaver, nicknamed Barry, is expected to become a long-term brand mascot, similar to Edrington’s Famous Grouse.
- Unique approach: Using puppetry and beavers as mascots sets this commercial apart from traditional whisky ads, making it memorable and engaging.
- Appealing to younger consumers: By showcasing a whisky and coke serve and avoiding clichéd whisky imagery, the ad effectively targets a younger audience that has remained elusive for spirits marketers.
- Long-term brand mascot potential: The beaver character, Barry, could become a recognizable mascot for The Woodsman Whisky, similar to Edrington’s Famous Grouse, providing continuity in future marketing campaigns.
- Regulatory concerns: The use of puppets and animals could potentially be seen as appealing to children, which could lead to issues with alcohol advertising regulations.
- Limited cultural connection: The ad does not explicitly feature Scottish imagery, which may not resonate with traditional whisky drinkers who value heritage and authenticity.
- Risk of overshadowing the product: The unique storyline and use of puppets may draw attention away from the actual product and its qualities.
The behind-the-scenes look at the first major TV campaign for the contemporary Blended Scotch brand The Woodsman Whisky by independent creative agency Mr. President.
The TV campaign was filmed in Govedartsi, Bulgaria. Instead of using CGI footage, expert puppeteers were used to bring the beavers to life.