A 33-year-old Brit, Dominic Brand, VP-product group director, developed the "fun" appeal in drinking Scotch, traditionally considered a sophisticated and near-elitist activity.
"In many ways scotch has suffered from its close-mindedness or the stigma of being considered so," Mr. Brand says. "No scotch brand would ever be open to the idea of broadening itself to a younger market."
Except, of course, Dewar's.
Dewar's research indicated that while scotch consumption among consumers older than 35 was increasing, penetration was pathetically lacking in the 21-to 35-year-old segment.
"We needed to begin recruiting new drinkers who'd be loyal to our brand for a long time," Mr. Brand says.
That meant repositioning the Dewar's label, big-time. The ad campaign begun in September 1993 by Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, focuses on truisms and rites of passage to which the 21- to 35-year-old market can relate: bell bottoms to khakis, keg parties to brunches and cheap beer to fine Dewar's scotch.
The multimillion-dollar media plan revolves around magazines and transit posters that appeal to the socially active. "Instead of putting an ad on one billboard, we'd put a number of ads on strategically positioned kiosks close to the bars where these people hang out," Mr. Brand says.
The Dewar's campaign also includes on-premise promotions. "Our approach is very friendly-normal-looking young people go into the bars and talk to patrons about Dewar's," he says.
So far, on-premise visits have resulted in a 60% trial and a 40% purchase rate among bar clientelle.
"We have definitely caused a shift in our brand awareness-a positive shift," Mr. Brand says.