Profile: Jeremy Gilley

The man marketing world peace

Case study: Courvoisier’s escapist strategy that drives sales

  • See how brands are helping consumers escape reality in our cover story, click here
  • To learn more about the phenomenon which combines a fusion of live theatre and cinema - Secret Cinema, click here
  • “People are looking for travel where their BlackBerry won’t work and you won’t be able to get a 360-degree virtual tour of the house you’re staying in before you get there”, click here to read more

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Cognac brand Courvoisier has staged numerous ’fantasy’ events in association with other brands, such as jelly makers Bompas & Parr and immersive theatre company Punchdrunk. This included an ’architectural punchbowl’ - Courvoisier flooded a London building with punch which visitors could float around on a fruit-shaped raft.

Often associated with the older generations or the hip hop community, the brand has been able to successfully communicate with a different and forward-thinking 28+ demographic with these events.

“We wanted to create some buzz and talkability through an experience associated with the brand,” explains marketing controller Eileen Livingston.

At last year’s Secret Garden Party festival the brand created a pedal-powered punch machine.

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“Consumers are pleasantly surprised,” says Livingston. “They see a reason for trying Courvoisier and they associate it with being a creative brand.” The strategy is proving profitable. Courvoisier VSOP is now the fastest growing cognac in the UK, overtaking Remy Martin VSOP in sales at Christmas, and the company has a total value share of 63%.

“One of the things we’ve done is communicate the mixability of cognac, rather than drinking it straight,” explains Livingston. “At each of these events, we’ve tried to bring in the message of punch. That was what kicked off our affiliations, thinking of punch and serving it in a new way.”

This year, the brand is working with speakeasy (’secret bar’) White Mink to hold electro swing events across the UK, including the Brighton Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe that bring back the sounds and styles of the Twenties and Thirties. “A lot of people dress up when they go along to these events and, again, the Courvoisier punch will become an intrinsic part of the evening,” says Livingston.

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