Hendrick’s Gin, Edgar Allan Poe and the experiential marketing

What do Hendrick’s Gin and Edgar Allan Poe have in common? Hypnagogia, of course!

If this sentence seems to you completely nonsense, continue reading, because today I will tell you about an highly unusual marketing campaing in which I found myself involved.

It was the last Halloween period and I was browsing on Facebook, when an advertisement caught my eye: a retrò, victorian graphic promoted a mysterious soon-to-happen departing for an excursion in the world of extraordinary with Hendrick’s Gin; of course I was invited.
Curious, I clicked on the ad and a new page opened; here I had to insert some of my personal data (especially the birth date to assure I’m legally adult), and then I could take a test to reveal my path in the weird travel to get my boarding pass.

Once I took the test, I found on my mail a message from the mysterious

Mr. Ulysses Atherton-Coraldaton
The Great Phantasmagorical Excursion Leader
Edgar Allan Poe Inc.

who assured me that my test results have been received for calculating my data; in the while he was suggesting me to try the recipe of a gin cocktail.

Sincerely talking, I soon forgot about both the test and Hendrick’s Gin; however, around two weeks later I received my result…and here the story starts becoming interesting.

We_are_ready_to_depart!_-_2016-01-17_20.16.19kInside this new mail, I found out that my boarding pass was related to the Inventiveness Sphere (were there any doubts?). Beyond my result, there was a quote by Edgar Allan Poe:

There is, however, a class of fancies, of exquisite delicacy, which are not thoughts, and to which, as yet, I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt language. They arise in the soul only at its epochs of most intense tranquillity.

The mail hinted also to Poe’s studies about Hypnagogia, the transitional state we experience in the moment we pass from wakefullness to sleep.
This definitely captivated me: where Hendrick’s Gin would be taking me with this mysterious trip, with the help of no less than Edgar Allan Poe? In the message, as you can read, there’s even written “click here to enter your mind“.
I clicked and, in a new window, I was advised to relax, to put on headphones and to be sure of being in a well-lighted place…
Starting the experience, I found out that it was an animation using the computer’s webcam to insert the viewer inside a bizzare animated movie, in which the mind opens and frees thoughts and characters in pure Hendrick’s style:

Cattura di schermata (193)lAfter playing a bit with this fun tool, I closed it, thinking the campaing was ended. Instead, again, this time after a week, I received a new message from Mr. Ulysses Atherton-Coraldaton informing me that I was chosen (thanks to the fact that my brain was among the most curious ones – sic!) to receive an amazing invention: no less than a pair of Hendrick’s Hypnagoggles!

I gave Hendrick’s my data and my Belfast address and, since in that moment I was about to depart for Italy, I advised Stevie that I was waiting for an envelope: I didn’t know what to expect exactly, since the company already surprised me for its creativity, but I thought it would be some kind of paper glasses to build, nothing more.
Imagine our surprise when I received a medium-size box instead: since I was in Italy, I asked Stevie to open it and so, live between the two countries, the surprise was international.
Yes, because the box had inside another box, a perfect packaging for my trip in the world of incredible: an old chest.

DSC_0018blInside, the complete set for starting my phantasmagorical excursion:
a letter from Mr. Ulysses Atherton-Coraldaton, a mignon bottle of Hendrick’s Gin and finally, of course, the Hypnagoggles themselves, held in an ancient volume.


At this point, Hendrick’s got surely all our attention; nonetheless, since I was away, Stevie was worried of messing while building the goggles, so they have been waiting untouched in my studio until my return to Northern Ireland.

This is what I found inside the volume after a month: the Hypnagoggles still to be built…

DSC_0026bl…and here after I assembled the pieces and made them work:

Along the same lines of Google Cardboard, once the goggles are built you can insert your smartphone inside a specific area, making the creation a meeting point between technology and physical objects; following the link in the letter found in the chest and wearing the mask, we can share what is passing in our weird mind with the ones around us!

What to say about this campaign? I searched on the web to read something more about Hendrick’s Gin and its peculiar approach to marketing; I found a path studded with interesting and curious events, out of ordinary happenings studied to whet a nieche, partly hipster target, and a brand that, admitting it itself, realized being too young on the market and still little to compete on the same plane of other big brands in Gin’s production, and that consequently decided to bet on experiential marketing and virality. Following this path, Hendrick’s created a strong and recognisable brand identity.

Reading Hendrick’s story, this brand always has been above the lines: born from a Whiskey factory in 1886 in Scotland, rumours say that the name comes from the favourite gardener of Janet Sheed Roberts, grandchild of the distillery founder; further peculiarity is its aroma, since the gin contains rose petals and cucumber flavours. Yes, that’s strange but right: cucumber, also part of the official recipe to enjoy this gin at its best (and also protagonist of an amazing event in the USA, the Giant Cucumber one).

In conclusion, without knowing it, I came in contact with a pretty original brand, with a likewise communication and marketing. Surely from now on I’ll keep an eye on Hendrick’s, since I think this brand has a lot to teach to anyone working with marketing, and also – why not? – the next time I’ll have to choose a Gin to buy, I already know the one I love 😉

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  • Wow certo che sanno come si fa marketing alla Hendrick’s! Sai se hanno un ufficio interno o si affidano a un’agenzia?
    Un post molto affascinante, mancavo da un po’ dalla tua isola di bellezza e mi piacciono molto i cambiamenti!
    baci tanti

    • Ciao Nunzia! Per questa operazione si sono affidati all’agenzia londinese Gravity Thinking, credo poi abbiano un ufficio interno che affida le varie operazioni e idee ad altre realtà. So solo che sono fighissimi ♡ Qui in Italia però non ho mai sentito di loro iniziative, peccato!
      Grazie per essere passata, appena riesco a tornare a ritmi umani ricomincio a pubblicare 🙂

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