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#MadeofTaste: Drinking in campaign success with The Singleton

It's tough for a brand that's quite obviously Scottish to make its mark on local shores, but that's not to say it can't be done. Vongani Chinkanda, Diageo Reserve's marketing manager, explains how The Singleton's #MadeofTaste campaign uses collaboration and co-curation to its best advantage.

Think of whisky and you’ll probably also see in your mind’s eye a set of slippers and a comfortable armchair in front of a crackling log fire with snow falling past the window. If it’s The Singleton of Dufftown’s premium single malt whisky, however – The Singleton, to you and me – you’ll need to change that scene to include the sultry beat and bright lights of a SA nightclub.

That’s because the brand is making a name for itself locally with the millennial market, largely due to the success of its new #MadeofTaste campaign, which is gaining favour with the social media savvy. It’s had over 25k views in just over a month on YouTube and a search for #MadeofTaste results in tweets and Insta pics aplenty from brand loyalists and recent converts from across the continent.

This also included an exclusive #MadeofTaste dinner hosted by visual artist Austin Malema – the man behind last year’s #CreditThePhotographer frenzy – to celebrate local tastemakers as part of its Taste Chronicles Series, held on 14 January. It proved so popular it was trending in the number one position on Twitter:

Celebrated as “a brand that appreciates and celebrates taste over badge”, the #MadeofTaste campaign is now said to be setting international standards as it marks the brand’s “move away from rigid whisky rules into a space of true appreciation for a distinctive taste”.

It’s embedded below so you can see what I’m talking about:

Chinkanda says they’ve already had a phenomenally positive response to the campaign, even though it’s still in its early days, so they’re even more excited to see where it will take the brand in the future. Chinkanda explains a little more about why the campaign works below:

1. It’s certainly a striking ad. Explain the essence of the #MadeofTaste campaign.

Chinkanda: Made of Taste is actually quite simple: We aim to build awareness of The Singleton as the greatest-tasting single malt. But the campaign also allows us to go beyond just the obvious intrinsic values of our great tasting liquid and delve into a wider conversation in society about what is considered “tasteful”. It allows people to authentically own their definition and present their unique translation or take of what ‘taste’ is to them. So we are sparking a conversation that spans across food, fashion, décor, art, music, photography and more. The list is endless.

2. What does the brand aim to achieve with the campaign, which has very obvious African cultural expressions?

Chinkanda: We want to get into the repertoires of whisky drinkers and even tantalising non-whisky drinkers into the brand through a unique, interesting and differentiated positioning. We pay homage to our authentically Scottish origins, however, we acknowledge and fully embrace the African context in which the brand operates. I believe that with this campaign we have melded the two and created something that has surprised and delighted people. We are extremely pleased with the response we have had so far. South Africans are embracing the brand and appreciating the position we’ve taken.

3. Why the need to “move away from rigid whisky rules into a space of true appreciation for a distinctive taste?” What are those rigid rules?

Chinkanda: It’s really about demystifying the world of whisky and making it more accessible. While we acknowledge that whisky is a legendary category and the heritage lies in the “backstory,” we feel that it should not be shrouded in mystery and accompanied by strict rules of the correct or incorrect way to drink it. We love to say that we encourage people to drink the brand any way they prefer and mix it with any drink to their own personal preference.

4. That’s certainly an interesting take. Talk us through the importance of creating consumer experiences as a way to develop brand loyalty.

Chinkanda: Millennial consumers are collecting experiences the same way that previous generations collected possessions, therefore in order for a brand to grow we must connect with people in a way that resonates with them. If you allow consumers into your world and enter their world with authenticity and humility, you will build fans.

5. How does the consumer benefit from the campaign?

Chinkanda: We are taking a collaborative approach with this campaign, that is why we created the Taste Chronicles Series where we are working with six creative, authentic and discerning individuals who are co-curating events along with the brand to bring to life an experience where we can invite people to experience the brand in a different way. Our first curated event was hosted by Austin Malema, a young, exciting visual artist who is making a lot of impact in his craft. Our next event will be hosted by the maverick duo Punk ‘n Ivy and we will also be collaborating with Rich Mnisi, I see a Different You, Nonku Phiri and Anthony Bila. At the heart of our brand’s guiding principles is collaboration; we team up with the most talented, like-minded crafts people to create unforgettable experiences.

Seems collaboration and co-curation definitely has its place in building brand loyalty. Visit The Singleton on Twitter and Instagram for more.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

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