I started my marketing career with Dewar’s whisky. Dewar’s is fairly unknown in its Scottish home but is the number one selling whisky blend in the USA.
The brand started in 1846 and within 50 years was the market leader, largely down to Tommy Dewar who was an incredibly colourful character, to put it mildly. This blog is not a suitable place to record all of his personal indiscretions.
He constantly caused outrage in the business world, was involved in regular publicity stunts (such as sending a case of Dewar’s to the President of the United States during prohibition) and adopted new technology including the first ever cinema advert for any product.
Over a century later Martin Dickie and James Watt at BrewDog have a very similar style with #DontMakeUsDoThis and their punk beer.
Of course nowadays Dewar’s advertising is very far from punk. As it should be, a nearly 200 year old business which is the biggest blended whisky brand in the biggest market in the world should not be behaving like BrewDog.
But for those of us starting out, it’s good to remember that today’s corporate brands with their multimillion dollar campaigns and everything focus grouped to death, began in a very different way.