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Diageo learns from Hollywood

News, 14 December 2015

NEW YORK: Marketers could learn valuable lessons from Hollywood when it comes to "speed to market" and real-time responsiveness to cultural trends, a leading executive from Diageo has argued.

Dan Sanborn, VP/PR and Entertainment Marketing at the company, discussed this idea at Advertising Week 2015 in New York City.

More specifically, he talked about a tie-up between Johnnie Walker whisky and the movie "Entourage", the results of which included a three-minute online video starring the popular character Johnny "Drama" Chase.

This clip was written by Doug Ellin and directed by Kevin Connolly, one of the stars of the franchise. And this piece of content went from initial concept to completion in only six weeks.

"From concepting to the rapid pace of production to how … [Ellin and Connolly] ran a set was something that brands could take away from how these guys do it in entertainment. It was like nothing I had ever seen," said Sanborn. (For more, including further details of this affiliation, read Warc's exclusive report: How Johnnie Walker reached a younger audience with "Entourage".)

"What's changed for me coming out of that is: how can we actually take the learnings of a Hollywood production from speed to idea to speed to market and implement it on a more regular basis so we're constantly evolving in real time as culture changes?

"That's been a huge learning for us. We were already on that journey, but this taught us some tricks that we hadn't previously known."

Working with Ellin, in fact, yielded both an authentic integration that engaged "Entourage" fans and a younger audience for Johnnie Walker.

And he also delivered an unsolicited pitch for a further piece of content, this time using Johnny Chase to encourage moderate alcohol consumption.

"Doug came back with a very compelling idea for how we could use that same insight to promote responsible drinking as well, which really cut through in a very different way from anything Walker would have done," said Sanborn.

Data sourced from Warc