To celebrate World Cucumber Day (14 June), William Grant & Sons and its Hendrick’s gin brand have turned travel retail’s most popular website, The Moodie Davitt Report.com, green for 24 hours.

This marks the second consecutive year that Hendrick’s has partnered with The Moodie Davitt Report to celebrate the day which honours the brand’s ‘unusual green garnish’.

For the past three months, William Grant & Sons has been running build-up campaigns across the globe, from Auckland to Amsterdam, Spain to Singapore, Delhi to Dubai. Global travellers have been invited to cultivate and embrace their ‘unusual’ side via travel retail ‘Cucumber Curiositarium’ activations.

Additionally, a ‘currency exchange’ promotion at participating domestic on-trade venues globally has enabled refreshment seekers to exchange their cucumber (hopefully home-grown) for a free Hendrick’s & tonic.

[Click above to view a Moodie Davitt Report World Cucumber Day video interview with Hendrick’s Global Brand Ambassador Ally Martin]

William Grant & Sons said that the huge success of World Cucumber Day in 2017 led to the company upscaling the ‘eccentric’ marketing campaign for 2018 in its remit to build global attention for Hendrick’s.

Dubai Duty Free VP Purchasing Sharon Beecham: “We are delighted to partner with William Grants & Sons and Hendrick’s for World Cucumber Day, and to immerse our globetrotting customers in this fun and unforgettable shopping experience.”

Cucumber Day was first invented by cucumber growers in England in 2011 to extol the virtues of the “gallant and remarkable fruit”. Hendrick’s has now virtually made World Cucumber Day its own and has this year launched the campaign in over 50 airports worldwide, along with cruise ships, ferries and border stores.

William Grant has worked closely with retailers including DFS, Dubai Duty Free, Dufry, Delhi Duty Free, Harding Retail, Heinemann and Lagardère Travel Retail to bring the ‘Cultivate the Unusual’ campaign to life. Key promotional elements have included tasting bars, branding, promoters, gifts and striking theatre pieces.

Dubai Duty Free VP Purchasing Sharon Beecham commented: “We are delighted to partner with William Grants & Sons and Hendrick’s for World Cucumber Day, and to immerse our globetrotting customers in this fun and unforgettable shopping experience. We are proud to have Hendrick’s, with its signature cucumber serve, as part of our flourishing gin offering.” 

Key to the campaign this year are the 22 ‘Cucumber Curiositarium’ specimens, presented in display jars for travellers to marvel at.

Gourd almighty! It’s World Cucumber Day!

I’m even prepared to be the travel retail face of the campaign. Then again, I suppose they’re far more likely to cast Benedict Cucumberpatch.

Each specimen has its own character and story and includes: ‘The World’s Smallest Cucumber’ (Specimen No 2); ‘The Flying Cucumber’ (Specimen No 5); ‘The Explorer Cucumber’ (Specimen No 6) and ‘The Invisible Cucumber’ (Specimen No 3).

Hendrick’s has also created localised specimens for individual airports (or regional airports). These include: ‘The Climbing Cucumber’ (9) for Frankfurt, ‘The Conducting Cucumber’ (12) for Vienna, ‘The Tallest Cucumber’ (15) for Dubai, ‘The Indulgent Cucumber’ (17) for Brussels and ‘The Well Balanced Cucumber’ (21) for Kuala Lumpur.

Who said that size matters? Cucumis minisculus insignificantus seems to be flourishing.

The Conducting Cucumber strikes the right note with consumers

14 localised Curiositariums have been created for specific airports, including The 101 Touring Cucumbers (pictured above) for Taoyuan International Airport

This year’s World Cucumber Day campaign kicked off at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol where ‘The Dam’ cucumber specimen No 7 featured with its own Penny Farthing cycle.

The Dam cucumber takes a ride through Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Gebr. Heinemann Head of Activity Management Ann-Kathrin Fürer said: “World Cucumber Day is yet another example of the innovative, quirky, and unusual marketing ideas that we have come to expect from Hendrick’s gin and brand owner William Grant & Sons. This year’s Curiositarium activation has once again been fun, imaginative and totally over the top.

“We were delighted to start the ball rolling this year for World Cucumber Day at Amsterdam Schiphol and we’re very confident that the sales results will prove the value of activations such as this – not just for Hendrick’s but the gin category as a whole.”

High-profile promotions will run throughout June at key airports including London Gatwick South, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Brussels, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Cancún.

Right on cue (cumber): World Cucumber Day activations increased significantly in the two weeks leading up to the big day

A bespoke microsite (www.worldcucumberday.com) supporting the curious campaign introduces the reader to ‘the most wondrous of fruits’. Readers can find out about the Cucumber Curiositarium specimens and are invited to play a ‘catch the cucumber slices’ game.

William Grant & Sons Head of Marketing Global Travel Retail Ifan Jenkins said: “Over the years, global travel retail has played a pivotal role in the growth of Hendrick’s gin as the world’s number one super-premium gin. Our retail partners have brilliantly brought the peculiar brand world of Hendrick’s to life with disruptive wall bays and displays featuring bath tubs, giant tea cups, birdcages, and bicycles.

“World Cucumber Day is another example of how we at William Grant & Sons endeavour to create distinctive, memorable and engaging brand experiences and the support we have received from our retail partners this year has been second to none. Hendrick’s is oddly infused with rose and cucumber, so World Cucumber Day has provided us with the perfect opportunity to reaffirm the brand’s ownership of the signature cucumber serve and make it globally famous.

William Grant praised the ‘brilliant’ way its travel retail partners have brought the peculiar brand world of Hendrick’s to life

“This year’s ‘Hendrick’s Curiositarium’ which sees a selection of the world’s most wondrous cucumber specimens travelling the globe to build awareness, will – we hope – bring the opportunity to experience our rose and cucumber infused gin to more than 70 million consumers worldwide. Global travel retail is the perfect environment to give consumers the opportunity to engage with theatrical activations and leave with a new-found knowledge that they can share with friends when back home.”

“Over the years, global travel retail has played a pivotal role in the growth of Hendrick’s gin as the world’s number one super premium gin” – William Grant & Sons Head of Marketing Global Travel Retail Ifan Jenkins

William Grant & Sons encouraged retail staff to engage with World Cucumber Day by supplying them with gift boxes of seeds and instruction leaflets detailing how to interact with their cucumbers.

Jenkins continued: “We appreciate that the extraordinary bonds gardeners will have formed with their cucumber may make harvesting today a somewhat emotional experience. Nevertheless, we are sure the pure joy of enjoying said cucumber in its rightful place – as a garnish in a Hendrick’s gin and tonic – will more than compensate for any sense of loss.”

To join in the World Cucumber Day festivities, use the hash tags #HendricksGin and #WorldCucumberDay.

How to harvest and garnish your fully-grown cucumber

1. Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The earlier the cucumbers are harvested, the smaller and more tender the seeds. They will also taste sweeter and juicier. Oh, and there’s no bad news.
2. The cool calm of the early morning or evening is perfect for cucumber harvesting. The fruits can be kept fresh overnight by standing them stalk end down in a jug with a little water in it. You can keep yourself fresh overnight by reading poetry before bedtime and wearing silk pyjamas.
3. Please do not yank your cucumbers when you harvest them from the plant. Instead snip them off with a pair of secateurs or a sharp knife. Do not use a cutlass.
4. Once you have tasted your cucumber, cut 0.3-cm slices and then submerge them in your Hendrick’s & Tonic. If you wish to, you may then contemplate all that is marvellous in the universe.
5. The Mesmadunion method of cucumber harvest & garnishment requires the following:
1. The harvester must wear a cloak, 3-foot winklepickers and a beak.
2. The cucumbers must be culled at dawn within a mile of a viaduct.
3. The cucumbers must be sliced with affection.
4. The slices must be dropped into the Hendrick’s & tonic from an altitude of three miles.

Spreading love, appreciation and understanding of cucumbers large, small… and invisible: Airports around the world have gotten behind the ‘little green garnish’ celebrations