Like the protagonist in a feel-good holiday movie, Stretton’s London Dry Gin has surprised the South African spirits market by claiming a spot among the top 20 spirits brands in South Africa – proving that gin doesn’t have to be snooty to become a drink of choice.
The People’s Gin
It all started a year ago, when Stretton’s London Dry Gin entered the summer party season with a new creative agency in the form of VMLY&R South Africa, and a bold new message: “gin that goes with anything”.
For a spirit that has a longstanding association with self-proclaimed snobs, the idea that gin could be easy-going was foreign almost to the point of being preposterous. And it was that unpretentiousness that VMLY&R Strategy Director and account lead for Stretton’s, Robynne Rowlinson-Bisset, and her team decided to use to differentiate Stretton’s in a gin market more crowded than a South African beach on New Year’s Day.
“The messaging around gin is often about botanicals or pairings and it can be a little inaccessible to a lot of people,” she said at the time. “If you’re having Stretton’s with Appletizer or lemonade, that’s fine. Whoever you are and whoever you’re with, come and be part of this simply unexpected, carefree lifestyle.”
Reinforcing the Message
After a successful summer campaign that put Stretton’s London Dry Gin front and centre at taverns and urban hotspots across the country, the positioning of Stretton’s London Dry Gin as an accessible, easy-going gin was reinforced throughout the year.
“We went bold,” says Executive Creative Director Ana Rocha. “Our brand cues are colourful and punchy. We bring the Stretton’s full flava to everything we do, from our branded Jeeps, Sunday fun at Community in Cape Town, to our pool parties at the iconic Disufeng in Soweto – we will continue to build on the momentum”.
Cheers to Success
South Africa was ready for a great-tasting gin without the airs and graces. The brand positioning of Stretton’s London Dry Gin was a massive success, culminating in it ranking in the top 20 spirits brands in South Africa for Q3 2022 – less than a year since the campaign first launched.
“The Stretton’s brand truth is to show up Simply Unexpected in everything we do. And that is what VMLY&R has been helping us achieve since coming on board in 2021,” says brand manager Pierre van der Westhuizen. “The success of the brand is partly due to its simple messaging within in a category that is dominated by old-school campaigns. We are excited to see where this partnership takes the brand in the future. Watch this space for more unexpected, zesty campaigns!”
“I think a big part of the success has been that we didn’t follow the traditional gin trope – the messaging is bright and colourful,” adds Rocha. “We’ve also really run with the idea of ‘goes with anything’ by meeting people where they are – from a chilled evening at Mozambik, to a dip in the pool at Disufeng. Whatever mood you’re in, these are places where Stretton’s comes to life. Online, we’ve launched Stretton’s on Twitter and are making sure the brand is jumping into all the right conversations.”
From its willingness to head in a different direction to its phenomenal results, Stretton’s is definitely living its brand purpose: Simply unexpected!
ISSUED BY VMLY&R
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VMLY&R is a global brand and customer experience agency that harnesses creativity, technology, and culture to create connected brands. Made up of more than 11,000 employees worldwide, the agency has principal offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kansas City, New York, Detroit, London, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. VMLY&R works with client partners including Absa, BAT, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Dell, Ford, Nando’s, New Balance, Pfizer, Vodacom and Wendy's. For more information, visit www.vmlyr.com. VMLY&R is a WPP company (NYSE: WPP).
ABOUT STRETTON’S LONDON DRY GIN
Stretton’s London Dry Gin is a world class, multiple gold and silver award winning London Dry Gin, proudly distilled and bottled in South Africa. Whether it’s Stretton’s Original, Double Cut, Triple Berry or Wild Berries, you’re guaranteed to get a perfect gin with the perfect balance of botanicals, every time.
Stretton’s. Simply Unexpected.