Straightaway, a ready-to-serve cocktail brand based in Portland, Oregon, has unveiled a campaign from agency North that plays up the elevated experience of craft cocktails but with a playfulness—rooted in Portland itself—that sets it apart in the category.
The colorful campaign’s most recent spot, below, features guests arriving for a party where Straightaway cocktails are being served.
Photographer and director Holly Andres, based in Portland herself, directed the spot, which is set to the music of Megan Diana, also a local artist. Diana also appears in the ad—she’s in the cowboy hat, holding the French horn.
Straightaway has been working with North for about two years, but this is their first full campaign together, following a bit of holiday work last year. Founded in 2018, the brand has long had an intriguing visual identity, including bottle labels that are hieroglyphic in nature—telling the stories of particular cocktails through pictures.
For this work, the brand gave Andres lots of space to bring her own flavor of artistry, which meshed well with Straightaway’s own, said Cy Cain, the company’s founder and CEO.
“Part of our through line as a brand is respecting the past but creating the future—not getting stuck trying to recreate the 1920s or ’30s or ’40s, or some other era, but taking what was great and moving it down the field,” Cain told Ad Age. “Holly has a way of capturing images and scenes where it's really hard to tell what era it's coming from. Is this something that was shot last week? Is this something that was shot 30 years ago? It has nostalgia and future all wrapped up into it.”
Along with timelessness, there is a playfulness, too, which Cain said is differentiating in the category, where there is a lot of self-serious focus on authenticity.
“We’re serious about getting our cocktails right, but beyond that, we're looking to have fun,” he said. “Holly’s eye lends itself towards that ethos. It's refined, but doesn't feel unapproachable. You want to lean in and learn more. There's a whole universe being built through her lens. It just felt like there was so many parallels.”
A previous spot, below, came out toward the end of the summer. It also features the work of Andres and Diana, and was shot in Andres’ backyard.
Diana also felt like a kindred spirit for the campaign, said Cain.
“Her style, particularly the songs featured on the two videos so far, feels so original and so on brand,” he said. “There's this ethereal feel to them. Like Holly's work, her voice and her style and musicianship feel timeless, too.”
Cain described Straightaway’s target market as the “cocktail enchanted,” which covers consumers who are well versed in the space as well as those just learning—who want to move beyond wine and beer. Andres and Diana’s work is, in its own way, enchanted—and Portland itself has a lot of that, too, said Cain.
“There's an element of ‘Keep Portland weird’ and ‘Portlandia’ that is really true and accurate,” Cain said. “You can see it in our brand ethos, and you can certainly see it in this work.”
Along with social and digital video, the campaign will also include out-of-home ads (see an example below). Cain expects the campaign to continue for the next 18-24 months, with fresh executions periodically. Straightaway has distribution in 19 states. This work will focus on five markets—Washington, Oregon, California, Illinois and New York.