Tommyrotter adds some ‘mischief’ to marketing spirits

The distiller aims to break away from the close-up shots of drinks being poured that dominate the category.

Tommyrotter Distillery hopes injecting some humour and energy into its “Craft & Mischief” campaign will shake up conventions in spirits marketing and attract millennials to its portfolio of beverages.

Beginning in mid-May, the integrated campaign will run for the rest of the year and features Willy, a historical character that hails from the 19th century Arts and Crafts movement, an English aesthetic that spread across Europe and inspired an appreciation for decorative arts. The ads have Willy making a hat out of birds that parallel his originality with that of Tommyrotter’s process of distilling in small batches with “recipes blind to convention.”

Sean Insalaco, partner and co-founder of Tommyrotter Distillery, says much of the marketing of more established spirits skews older, and places the emphasis on the product being poured and used repeatedly. The energetic “Craft & Mischief” campaign, by contrast, is designed to drive relevance and brand affinity with younger generations of adults with the off-the-wall Willy.

“There’s a lot of humour in it,” says Insalaco. “It’s definitely different than anything you’ve seen in the spirits industry.”

In addition to trying to appeal to millennials and younger generations of adults, attracting women is a key initiative for Tommyrotter. Women have been underrepresented when it comes to marketing efforts from other spirit brands, and rectifying that could also lead to a much more sustainable consumer base, says Insalaco.

The campaign is meant to coincide with COVID-19 restrictions being lifted and people returning to social events and travel, according to Insalaco.

“The timing is perfect to roll out something new and something that people can relate to,” says Insalaco. “It’s fun, and people just want to experience new fun things.”

Toronto agency Good & Ready led the campaign after beginning working with Tommyrotter at the beginning of the year. The campaign includes seven videos, in-store materials, sales distributor materials, as well as a social campaign that supports the vodka, whiskey, gin and bourbon-barrel gin products. It will also make use of Tommyrotter’s owned social media accounts, including Instagram, Facebook and TikTok in addition to paid ads on Google.

Good & Ready teamed up with Wingman VFX and Pirate Audio to create the videos.