The brand, which produces craft gin from their US distillery in Portland, Oregon, has hit the headlines over the past few years for a brilliant range of well-crafted and engaging advertising campaigns. From parody interviews to high-power brand collaborations, Reynolds and Aviation Gin have a history of marketing wins that leverage the actor’s star power and personality to entertain consumers. However, in perhaps their smartest marketing move to date, their most recent ad showed incredibly quick thinking and a true understanding of the power of viral marketing.
The story starts with perhaps one of the more controversial campaigns of the festive period this year, from exercise equipment producer Peloton. The ill-fated advert (that reportedly cost the brand over a billion dollars in market valuation) featured a young woman receiving a Peloton bike for Christmas from her husband, and proceeded to show her documenting the usage of her bike over 12 months, through self-shot videos. Almost instantly after its release, the ad was hammered on social media for sexism, objectification and it’s seemingly dystopian messaging, leading Peloton to make a statement about how they were “disappointed in how some have misinterpreted” the campaign.
But, whilst Peloton were putting out fires, Aviation Gin saw an opportunity. In less than a month, AG’s marketing team tracked down the actress who starred in the Peloton advert and enlisted her to take part in a brilliant parody. The ad even included some thinly-veiled shots at Peloton’s product tagline: “The Gift That Gives Back”, with Aviation Gin naturally titling theirs: “The Gift That Doesn’t Give Back”, as well as the misinterpretation of the original ad’s message.
Jokes aside, there is a lot to be impressed with in Aviation Gin’s response advert. Viral marketing is usually restricted to social media or newsjacking, simply because the time window is so small; however, Aviation went bold, putting together the entire advert and releasing it within a month. It ticked every box on the viral checklist (relevant, time-sensitive and engaging) and managed to do so whilst retaining the sharp wit that the brand, and Reynolds, is synonymous with. For me, this has to be the biggest viral marketing win of the year.
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