‘The Age Matters’ campaign will be rolled out across duty free and domestic markets worldwide

INTERNATIONAL. Chivas Brothers has launched a global campaign to highlight the importance and value of age statements on Scotch whiskies to consumers. “˜The Age Matters’ campaign will begin in travel retail on 1 July before being rolled out across domestic markets worldwide.

The drive was prompted by new research commissioned by Chivas Brothers, which showed that 94% of consumers believe the age statement serves as an indicator of quality, while 93% believe that older whiskies are better quality and 89% actively look for an age statement when making a decision to purchase.

Against this, the survey found that there is a global lack of knowledge about what the age statement actually means: only 10% understand that it refers to the youngest whisky in the bottle, while nearly half (48%) believe an age statement refers to the average age and 35% believe it signifies the oldest whisky present.

The campaign is a direct response to this lack of understanding and the aim is to enable consumers to understand fully the age statement and to appreciate the value of the premium product they are purchasing.

Christian Porta: Addressing the “global lack of knowledge about what an age statement means”

Speaking to The Moodie Report this morning, Chivas Brothers Limited Chairman and CEO Christian Porta said: “It’s quite striking that at same time as consumers believe age is a very important statement of quality, there is a clear global lack of knowledge about what an age statement means. We were surprised by how few consumers understood that for example 12yo refers to the youngest whisky in the bottle – while around half thought it was the average, and some thought it was even the oldest.

“When you’re in the business of making quality aged whiskies, that’s a surprise, but it’s also an opportunity to inform consumers.”

Chivas Brothers will highlight the importance of age through point-of-sale in stores as well as a major advertising and PR campaign. It will run across the company’s aged whisky portfolio, which includes the Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet, and Royal Salute brands.

Consumers will be encouraged to look for age statements on Scotch whisky through The Age Matters drive. A logo using the language Guaranteed Age Whisky has been created for usage in retail, and will be visible in the environment of Chivas Brothers brands that carry an age statement.

Porta said: “We’ll begin in the coming weeks with a number of key Asian airports, such as Incheon, and we’ll be active in the Middle East and Europe, and also roll out the campaign to key airports in the US. Travel retail is a very important channel for all our super-premium and ultra-premium whiskies. So it makes sense for us to start the campaign in that channel, though it’s very much a global campaign, aimed at both travel retail and domestic markets.”

The campaign will run across Chivas Brothers’ major Scotch brands that carry age statements; these include (clockwise from top left) Ballantine’s, Royal Salute, Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet

He also noted the role of the campaign in underlining the premium positioning of aged Scotch among consumers. “At the end of the day what we are doing is explaining to the consumer why those whiskies with a precise age statement are worth paying the price they are being asked to pay,” said Porta. “It’s because they are rare, it has taken a long time and much skill to age them and mature them in Scotland, while also losing a large portion through the evaporation or the “˜angel’s share’.

“We have a role in doing this as one of the main players in Scotch and the leader in luxury and prestige Scotch. If we get that message across it will benefit our brands and also the whole category.

The Moodie Podcast
Chivas Brothers Chairman and CEO Christian Porta on why age matters

“With our partner retailers in duty free, we are all trying to increase the value of the category and explain to the consumers why a 21yo, for example, is worth the price they are paying. This campaign may even open up the possibility of increasing the price for what is a rare, luxury item. When you look at the likes of Royal Salute 21yo, which retails in duty free at around US$95, this product was produced 21 years ago or longer, has been aging for 21 years and more, and been produced with a lot of skill and craft over that time. Maybe the price of US$95 does not reflect its status as a luxury item.”

“Clearly what we see in this market is a drive for super-premium, ultra-premium and prestige items. Ever time we have launched a product with a high age statement, Chivas 25 or Royal Salute 38, or products of that style, they work extremely well and we often have to work on the basis of an allocation for them as they are in such demand.
“It’s all about provenance, quality, authenticity. For all luxury brands it’s true that people now want to know and understand more about where they came from so they can make an educated purchasing decision. If consumers know about the meaning of the age statement, they’ll understand the care that went into the whisky and we believe will be even keener to purchase prestige Scotch whisky.”

Click on the icon above for a video on the Chivas Brothers’ age statement campaign

Background to the research
The research was commissioned by Chivas Brothers Limited and conducted by an independent market research agency, Buzzback, between 3 June, 2010 and 9 June, 2010. The sample consisted of over 2,000 respondents in nine countries each evaluating a set of statements. All respondents were male and aged 21+ (or 25+ in India). All have purchased whisky in the past month. Countries: France, UK, US, India, Korea, Russia, Mexico, China, Brazil.

Additional findings included:
*94% of consumers believe that age is an important indicator of quality
*93% believe that older whiskies are better quality
*92% prefer to buy whisky with a clear age statement
*97% agreed that whiskies which claim to be aged should clearly state the age on the bottle
*89% look for an age statement when buying whisky
*86% expect to pay a price premium for whiskies with an age statement