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‘Half an ad’ takes Ballantine’s lower-alcohol messaging into the void

Scotch whisky brand Ballantine’s is promoting a new lower-alcohol variant of the tipple in literal fashion with ‘Half the alcohol, all the character’.

Ballantine’s Light is just 20% alcohol by volume, half the levels found in the full-blooded Ballantine’s – a fact conveyed using a unique split-screen filming technique for a new TV campaign.

No half measures

  • Taking the half messaging and running with it, Crispin Porter Bogusky London has taken the concept to heart by filming ‘half an ad’, with the unfilmed void serving as a black hole for unsuspecting actors to fall into.

  • Broadcast in Spain, the campaign includes three playful spots which show that even with reduced screen real estate you don’t have to do anything by halves.

  • As one hapless Ballantine’s drinker falls to his doom via an out-of-bounds glitch in the space-time continuum, a voiceover intones: “Ballantine’s Light contains half the alcohol, but all the character. So we made half an ad.”

Spanish surprise

  • Ballantine’s Light is exclusive to the Spanish market at present, capitalizing on a growing trend for no- and low-alcohol content in Europe.

  • It is estimated that 50% of Spanish bars and restaurants now stock no- or low-alcohol variants of popular drinks to accommodate some 54% of consumers who are taking steps to reduce their alcohol intake in favor of healthier lifestyles.

Method behind the madness

  • Josh McCarthy, brand communications and digital transformation director, said: “With this campaign we are showing that with ‘half an ad’, you can still get all the fun that you get in a full ad. Just like with Ballantine’s Light, a lower-alcohol alternative that delivers all the character and great taste of Ballantine’s at half the alcohol. After all, we continue to champion our belief in ‘Stay True: There’s No Wrong Way’; celebrating that there’s no wrong way to drink Ballantine’s!”

  • Dave Day, executive creative director at CPB London, added: “The challenge for us was to put the ‘half the alcohol, all the character’ product truth at the very center of the creative idea, in a fresh way that grabs attention. We also wanted to portray a lighter-hearted expression of the brand, befitting of the product’s name. The ‘half an ad’ idea does both and is a true departure from other advertising in the category.”

  • Crispin Porter & Bogusky were appointed by Ballantine’s in November 2019 with a remit to ‘build brand love’.

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