J.P. Wiser’s toasts wisdom over pretension

The whisky brand shuns category tropes by telling "everyman" drinkers the only person they need to impress is themselves.

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J.P. Wiser’s is looking to set itself apart in a whisky category built on pretension and snobbery with a humble appeal to the “everyman.”

Called “Wisely Done,” the campaign was developed with Ogilvy Canada from a simple insight: while many whisky brands try to market themselves by trading on status and encouraging drinkers to embrace them as a means of flaunting that, Wiser’s is for drinkers who are “down to earth and care about genuine relationships and values,” says Cory Owens, senior brand manager for J.P. Wiser’s.

“It’s all about cutting through the tropes and sea-of-sameness so often found in whisky advertising – grizzled guys toasting other grizzled guys while an equally grizzled voiceover says something portentous and dramatic music plays,” adds Noah Feferman, group CD for Ogilvy. “Through the creative process, we talked a lot about how ‘impressing yourself’ means completely different things to different people, and we wanted the work to reflect that.”

In a 60-second spot set to Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You,” a mechanic dances around his shop, using various tools to perform before catching the judgmental eyes of his coworkers. He then sashays off the screen, selling the central message of the campaign: sometimes, the only person you need to impress is yourself. OOH and online banner ads support this premise with slogans such as “The only approval you need is a nod in the mirror,” and “You ate your food without posting a pic.”

foodThe conscious effort to court the everyman drinker seemed a natural fit for a whisky brand “that’s always stayed true to themselves, authentic and never tried to fit into someone else’s idea of what they should be,” says Owens, while the idea of embracing wisdom trades on the brand’s nearly 150 years of history.

That’s because Wiser’s drinkers “don’t get caught up in the superficiality of whatever’s trending on social media – they just do what they do. Ultimately, the ‘everyman’ drinker sees themselves in J.P. Wiser’s values,” he notes. “It’s all about great-tasting whisky and zero pretenses.”

The campaign is running for six weeks in Canada, Michigan and Texas, across TV, online and OOH.