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Communications Gin

Hendrick's spotlights the cucumber in latest campaign as new agency team take on brand's 'curious' world

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By Katie Deighton, Senior Reporter

May 4, 2016 | 4 min read

Hendrick's Gin sent a fleet of vintage motorbikes disguised as giant cucumbers out onto the streets of London last weekend, as part of an on-trade initiative devised by a new team of agencies.

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A team of ambassadors rode the motorised fruit through the roads and into a number of bars armed with a crate of cucumbers, with the aim of reminding partners how to properly garnish a Hendrick's and tonic.

The experiential campaign will go on to tour Leeds, Nottingham, Leicester and Loughborough throughout May. Additionally, the William Grand and Sons brand has developed an interactive, video-based training microsite that explains the correct components needed for a perfect serve.

The cucumber motif is strong for the brand on two levels: in the real world the spirit has been devised with the savoury garnish in mind (Bovrill explained: "If the drink were garnished with lime or lemon, the citrus fruit could overpower and mask these delicate flavours"), while the fruit has also offered a strong, visual and irreverent point of reference in its marketing.

Last year, saw Hendrick's unveil a giant cucumber-shaped airship in the US for National Cucumber Day – a holiday that will be revived again as an entire 44-day season in 2016 as The Cucumber Festival of Wonder in New York.

The UK-based cucumber strategy, which according to senior brand manager Sam Bovrill will also incorporate an off-trade, consumer campaign, is one of the first borne out of a partnership with Splendid Communications, aided by agencies Gravity Thinking and Village Communications. Hendrick's ended its previous long-term relationship with Steely Fox earlier this year.

"Splendid have picked up the reins on Hendrick’s Gin quickly and have ensured that there have been no delays on planning and delivering for this year," Bovrill told The Drum. "The curious world of Hendrick’s is not an easy one to immerse yourself in, and to ensure everything we do represents the brand in its best light and remains delightfully peculiar, but Splendid have been doing a great job."

With the on-trade being tackled first – the success of which will be determined by KPIs surrounding perfect serve awareness – the next step will be going for the consumer market, again with the cucumber at the heart of the campaign.

"In the off trade we will be re-enforcing our cucumber communications to ensure awareness and understanding of the perfect serve being enjoyed at home," said Bovrill. "From July we will be launching our latest gift pack, which has again evolved from out Tea Cup Packs released over the last few years."

Hendrick's may have the added bonus of selling a hugely fashionable drink right now, but its senior brand manager is adamant it is using this springboard to grow "in the right way", rather than letting the trend mutate any strategy plans.

"Hendrick’s has had another strong year of growth bringing significant numbers of new drinkers to the brand and category," explained Bovrill. "[We are also] building value ahead of volume, converting strongly from trial to regular consumption and Hendrick's is increasingly viewed as a gin ‘worth paying more for’, which puts us in good stead for continuing to ride that wave of popularity."

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