Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch Whisky wasn't kidding around when it dubbed its new campaign "#Opinions Welcome."
The campaign's videos capture the frank, visceral reactions as people taste from an unmarked bottle of what the distillers boast is "the most richly flavored Scotch whisky in the world," with a "unique peaty taste."
What's intriguing is that the verbal descriptions of those who love it and those trying to express their distaste for the spirit are often difficult to distinguish, at least for those who are not themselves single malt connoisseurs.
But then, that's the whole point. Laphroaig is a "complex beast -- even our closest friends describe us in seemingly disparaging terms, before saying that 'they love us,'" according to copy accompanying the first video. (More videos are to be released through the end of 2014.)
For instance, one taster who seems to know his way around Scotch begins by wryly observing that he would associate the strong aroma "with school lavatories" Yet, he appears to be relishing the experience, as he goes on to note that he can also "smell the seagulls' armpits" and to describe the whisky's "briny, smoky, bacon flavor."
Others appear to be equally appreciative as they describe the spirit's "medicinal" aroma and tastes of "damp dog and tree bark" or "smoked fish."
In fact, had she not already declared "No thank you" while making a face upon her first sip of the whisky, another taster's observations that "it's got a strange smell" and "I think they let the cows in that one" might also be taken as offbeat praise, within the context of the others' comments.
The campaign, from U.K.-based agency White Label, also includes print ads that feature passionate, quirkily expressed complimentary reviews from a few of the 600,000-plus members of the brand's loyalty group, Friends of Laphroaig.
The ads feature an image of the bottle with quotes such as, "An aroma of kerosene. Like drinking liquid smoke. Beautiful stuff. I love it," and "A symphony of smoke. Tastes like a burning hospital. Earth never tasted so good."
"Laphroaig has long been a brand that elicited diverse and strong opinions from those who taste it," and the authentic quotes from longtime lovers of the whisky are meant to "entice those unfamiliar with the whisky and inspire them to share their own opinions" of the Scotch, summed up its master distiller, John Campbell.
The hub of the campaign is a branded microsite where consumers are being encouraged to share their own opinions of Laphroaig. Some of those comments will be chosen for use in future ads and as brand content in Laphroaig's social media channels.
Naturally, the brand, owned by Beam Suntory, is also encouraging fans and newbies alike to express their opinions on Facebook and Twitter, using #OpinionsWelcome.