London Cocktail Week creates a stir on social

The start of October saw over 30 brands from the drinks industry come together at Spitalfields Old Market for London Cocktail Week.

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Savvy spent the week at Spitalfields and saw some impressive and inspirational touches from brands across the festival; Captain Morgan’s sailed in and docked their ship for the week, Cointreau served up drinks from inside a giant bottle and Sipsmith took visitors on a VR tour of their distillery. We worked alongside Britvic to develop the concept behind ‘The Winking Pig’ – a take on an east-end pub, showcasing the best of British in partnership with Pernod Ricard, for the relaunch of Britvic’s mixers range.

The Winking Pig cocktail menu boasted 10 carefully crafted cocktails, using the mixers range as the source of the creations. In keeping with the spirit of the festival, Britvic diluted the corporate branding we’re used to seeing at trade shows, and offered a more subtle approach to their positioning. This allowed visitors to delight in the menu, which showcased serves with Bourbon biscuits and bacon sarnies, and the taste of their drinks. We were proud to see that the drinks people were enjoying were mixed with a Britvic product, cementing the brands’ confidence to compete in a playing field alongside the likes of the often more fashionably perceived mixer brands.

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Over the course of the week, Instagram saw almost 3,000 #LCW16 images uploaded, with the ratio of images containing hipster beards at an all-time high. Countless Tweets were shared and over 6 million unique users have been exposed to coverage of LCW on social media to date. Highlights across social include; the strangers who found love at The Winking Pig bar, the Dewars distiller who carried a taxidermy chicken around with him all week and celebrity shout-outs from Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver.

This year’s LCW sold out and although we’re still waiting for final figures through the doors, estimated footfall is around 40,000. OTS for Britvic reached almost 75 million, which to put into context is over 10 million more than the UK population, a huge achievement and something we feel collectively extremely proud of. In addition to this, all proceeds from The Winking Pig were donated to Britvic’s chosen charity, Hospitality Action.

Now that we’re back at our desks and already looking to next year, we can address the key themes from #LCW16 and make some predictions for #LCW17. LCW is a clear example of how experiential activity done well attracts the masses and allows spirits and soft drink brands alike to come to life in their most natural environment. Commercially, we need to be thinking of the next steps and how the key trends will build next year. With a festival such as LCW attracting a majority younger generation of edgy city scenesters who converse via social media, a growing priority will be to make sure that these conversations are extending further than Spitalfields and an Instagram post.

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Whilst social will only ramp up, we expect to see brands amplifying and building on this year’s online conversations with a follow up, most likely in the form of further digital engagement. Examples of this include; data collection to ensure brands are able to keep in touch with vouchers and offers to redeem following LCW, online access to recipes or exclusive content, and a unique hashtag to each bar, encouraging users to talk specifically about the drinks they’ve enjoyed courtesy of one brand.

Because, whilst changing perception face to face is undeniably the most effective and reliable way for a brand to reinforce the message around taste and quality credentials, we do need to think past the bright lights of The Winking Pig, to bars up and down the country where the conversation can continue and most importantly, the drinks can flow.