Interview Transcript

How did you emotionalize Grey Goose, as a product?

Let me say how we positioned Grey Goose, as a product. Actually, the founder of Grey Goose, was a genius, a guy called François Thibault, who actually said, I’m going to create a vodka, in France, off baking wheat – actually, not just France, in Cognac – and I’m going to put it in a wine bottle, not a vodka bottle, not a spirits bottle. Functionally, the brand had many reasons to believe.

There’s a bit of flavor to Grey Goose, which is actually French baking wheat. That’s the flavor. You know the bread in France, you come home and say, I’m going to eat baguettes, after a visit and you come home and buy one from Tesco and it’s just not the same. That’s the wheat that does that. He created the brand in Cognac because, actually, the water, the aqua de vie, in Cognac, is filtered through very minerally sandstone. So the water is very soft and very minerally. That makes a much purer spirit.

So the reasons to believe the foundations of the brand are amazingly strong. What François Thibault did, was actually, nothing ordinary. So the way that you position Grey Goose is all around defying the ordinary, to achieve the extraordinary. The way you bring that to life, is by emotionally messaging the extraordinary things that humans can do. The extraordinary things that can happen in life, down to the extraordinary nights you can have, in that nightclub, where you’ve got a VIP table and paid $1,000 for a bottle of Grey Goose.

What creative did you use around Grey Goose, to message that?

The campaign was called, Fly Beyond. It was really interesting, when I came into Grey Goose, because the GFC had hit, the 2008 global financial crisis had hit, and conspicuous consumption had become not really cool. The brand, again, had drifted a bit and people didn’t understand what made Grey Goose special.

Again, similar to Bacardi, we went back, we understood what were the reasons to believe? What’s the story, the provenance, the heritage? We told that story. We told it in a very engaging way. The creation of Grey Goose. We then created a campaign called, Fly Beyond. Fly Beyond was all about, don’t live an ordinary life. Live this extraordinary life. Everything that we did on Grey Goose, from the ice buckets that you received a bottle in, in a club, were all beautifully LED lit, from the bottom and there were sparklers in the bottle. Everything was about the extraordinary.

The core human motivation, for a brand like Grey Goose, or Champagne or Johnnie Walker, is all about, I’ve made it and I want you to know I’ve made it. Anything you could do, to actually have people clearly highlighting the fact that they had made it, was all part of the Fly Beyond strategy.

It’s also interesting how you even go that step further, and really build or curate the experience, when they’re actually consuming it. When they’re buying it in the nightclub, you have that bucket there for them and it’s lit, for example.

Again, this is really important. Let’s go back to that. It’s even before that. We wouldn’t sell Grey Goose to just any nightclub. The nightclub had to have a certain level of clientele. It had to be a nightclub that was in demand. There needed to be a door outside that nightclub on a Thursday night. Not a Friday night, a Thursday night. We needed to be in the clubs that were hot, that were attracting the right type of consumers. We then needed to ensure that that club would price Grey Goose in the right manner. We couldn’t tell them how to price, but we could recommend that the prices needed to be up. You needed to have a VIP area, where to get into that VIP area, you needed to buy a bottle of Grey Goose.

So it started with your outlet selection and then every touchpoint, every moment of influence, even an ice bucket, is a connection moment. What’s the story? This is extraordinary. What’s the medium? It’s just an ice bucket. When is it? When I want to be special and I’ve paid $1,000. That’s a connection moment; that’s a moment of influence. It’s an important point you raise. This is not just media. This is everything.

I can remember when we were developing the ice buckets. I had the procurement team come to me and say, “Andy, I’ve got this ice bucket that’s the Grey Goose ice bucket, worth $150. I’ve got this one, for $75. It’s nearly as good.” I asked why it was nearly as good. They said, “Well, over time, we think that the finishing on this ice bucket will start to give up a little bit.” I said, “We want the $150.” The worst thing we could do is buy the $75 ice bucket. We want the 1000th bottle of Grey Goose that comes out of this ice bucket, to be served in the ice bucket that the first bottle was served out of. Everything needed to be extraordinary.

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