CASSIES Silver: Wiser’s welcomes and wins over recruits

Loyalty to the brand’s club for uncompromising men continues to pay off.

SILVER: Sustained Success

Situation Analysis By 2008, Canadian whisky had started a long, slow decline that would continue for the next four years. Wiser’s was running third to Crown Royal and Canadian Club, and poor awareness scores didn’t help. A 2007 survey revealed unaided top-of-mind awareness for Canadian Club at 34%, Crown Royal at 13% and Wiser’s DeLuxe at zero. Ouch.

Strategy & Insight Wiser’s had to recruit younger drinkers without alienating its older demo. That meant finding common ground between the two generations that would differentiate Wiser’s, and be authentic to the brand. Research unveiled that virtually all men admire a guy who sticks to his guns – a man who does not compromise. This fit perfectly with Wiser’s DeLuxe, which (as it says on the bottle) is made exactly the same as it was when J.P. Wiser began distilling it over 150 years ago. The challenge, of course, was to make this universal truth ownable to Wiser’s.

Execution Welcome to the Wiserhood – a not-so-secret society of men who are the authority on uncompromising behaviour. These are men who (literally) applaud other men who have qualities they deem admirable. They have age-old rules and rituals, and a virtual clubhouse ( where members can learn more about this mysterious society. Since late 2008, TV commercials have shown Wiserhood members slow-clapping their approval of young men who show their unwillingness to compromise. Related activities included the Wiserhood handbook, a Facebook effort, CFL and NHL sponsorships, online videos and the He-Coy Bag (based on the bag the uncompromising hero uses in the much-watched “Purse” commercial).

Results Since 2008, sales have grown close to 2% annually in a category declining at 1% per year. While these numbers may not seem large, over four years it amounts to an additional $11 million in sales, compared with total ad spending of roughly $3 million. Crown Royal and Canadian Club have lost ground, and Wiser’s is now the number two Canadian whisky.

Cause & Effect Wiser’s has seen a shift to younger users, and the only reason could be the advertising. Awareness correlated with the advertising schedule despite a declining share of voice. And there has been no extraordinary activity in product, packaging, pricing or promotion.


Client: Corby Distilleries
Brand director: Joseph Delvecchio
Senior brand manager: Zoe Traynor
Agency: John St.
Co-CDs: Angus Tucker, Stephen Jurisic
ACD/copywriter: Chris Hirsch
ACD/AD: Nellie Kim
Group account director: Ian Brooks
Account supervisor: Mark Graham
Account executive: Andrew Godfrey
Broadcast producer: Michelle Orlando