The House of Walker, Johnnie Walker’s traveling experiential tour, opened in New York City this December for the Holiday Season. This marks the second stop on the 2014/2015 tour after Austin, Texas.
Consumers began their night with a tasting of Black Label and Double Black with Master of Whisky Stephen Wilson. This year, the brand featured an interactive tasting table showcasing custom whisky content to complement the experience. Following the tasting, guests were welcomed by the Red Label and Black Label cocktail bars, which offered cocktails created by some of New York’s best bartenders:
(Created By Pam Wiznitzer from Dead Rabbit)
.5 oz Johnnie Walker Double Black
.5 oz Johnnie Walker Black Label
.5 oz Zacapa Rum
.5 oz Pedro Ximenez
1 bar spoon Demerara syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes mole bitters
Stir and strain up in a coupe glass. Garnish with orange oils.
Drink You Away
(Created by Jessie Duré from American Whiskey)
1 oz Johnnie Walker Red Label
.5 oz Ruby Port
.5 oz Fresh Pear Juice
.5 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
.5 oz Maple Syrup
2 thick slices of Ginger
4 Juniper Berries
1 Cinnamon Stick
All ingredients steeped together for about 10 minutes and served hot in a tea cup.
The Lion In Winter
(Created by Gates Otsuji from The Standard)
1.5 oz Johnnie Walker Red Label
.25 oz Licor 43
.25 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.25 oz Simple Syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
(optional: .5 oz Becherovka)
Shake all ingredients and strain in a rocks glass
After sampling Johnnie Walker’s lower marques, guests were encouraged to explore the higher marque lounges, including the Platinum Label area, which was lit like a photo shoot. After sampling Platinum, a second Master of Whisky took guests through an intimate tasting while a photographer took candid photos which could easily be shared to Facebook or Twitter through RFID cards. A separate room was dedicated to Gold Label Reserve, which featured high energy music and housed an illuminated Scotch and Soda Bar. There, guests enjoyed three custom soda recipes (spicy, savory and floral) which were created specifically to complement different flavor notes in Gold Label Reserve.
The night hit a crescendo with a Blue Label Tasting and Flavor Conductor performance**. The Flavor Conductor was engineered to influence the perception of taste through a multi-sensory performance including sound, projection mapping and sampling. Twice a night, Johnnie Walker Global Brand Ambassador Tom Jones and well-known organist Simon Little took the stage to give an unforgettable musical Blue Label tasting experience. As in past years, Johnnie Walker partnered with Meridian Audio, Fever-Tree Ginger Beer and Perrier Sparkling Mineral Water, all of which were showcased throughout the House.
This year’s House of Walker was a mixture of guided mentorship and self exploration. Each variant’s personality was brought to life in a unique way to portray the brand story, while allowing guests to enjoy a night out with their friends.
As we closed the doors on New York, we look forward to our next stops: Miami and Los Angeles. #KeepWalking
**The Flavor Conductor was concepted by Bompas & Parr Agency as part of a Johnnie Walker Global initiative. This instrument will tour the globe to be involved in a larger activation titled “Symphony in Blue”.
For this month’s Guest Column, we sat down with Peter Office, who has joined MKTG INC as Chief Operating Officer. A 25-year industry veteran, Peter shares his thoughts on experiential marketing, MKTG and the best advice he’s ever received.
Welcome to MKTG INC! Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been in the experiential marketing industry for a long time, watching the industry go from unsophisticated one-off programs to fully integrated experiences. I started my career in brand management at Pepsi and then moved into the experiential space working for several agencies… from producing B2B meetings to building and managing hospitality villages at Super Bowls, PGA Championships, Ryder Cups and U.S. Open events. I moved to the B2C side by producing marketing and entertainment tours, pop-up retail, location-based experiences and promotional events around the world.
I spent 10 years at Momentum leading the Live Events teams and had a stint as Chief People Officer. Most recently, I have been consulting for a variety of marketing agencies.
What will your role be here at MKTG INC?
As Chief Operations Officer, I will be working with all departments to figure out methods to streamline operations and become more efficient so our teams can spend more time focusing on providing great marketing solutions for our clients while improving margins.
As an industry veteran, how would you say MKTG stands out in the marketplace?
MKTG has the nimble approach of a small boutique with the resources of a large agency. The size of the agency makes it feel personal. The energy and enthusiasm of so many smart people working together is a great environment.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Two pieces of advice stand out: (1) “Make every decision as if you owned the business.” If you think like an owner, you are always working to do the right thing. (2) “Always hire people smarter than you are.” Smart people make you and the company better – never be scared to have them around.
MKTG was recently acquired by Dentsu Aegis. What does this mean for MKTG staff and clients?
Being part of a global agency provides opportunity. Opportunity for us to provide smarter integrated solutions for our clients. And personal opportunity for individuals to learn new disciplines and to develop new expertise.
What are your predictions for the event marketing industry in 2015?
A continued blurring of the lines between social and experiential. The creation of content for social amplification will require live experience as more people look for authenticity. The importance of the human connection will continue to grow as consumers tire of the always-connected world. The tangible experience our industry provides will be welcome as people want to touch, taste and feel brands. Live interaction will be appreciated as a “tech timeout.”
Technology will continue to play a greater role in events but content and the experience will be personalized. Personalization, tailored conversations and immersive experiences will make each interaction unique.
Experiential marketing will continue to evolve from tactical/executional projects to larger strategic platforms. We will continue to see greater integration and closer working relationships with other marketing disciplines as experiential provides the platform for sponsorships, PR and digital.
What publications/websites do you find most relevant to your career?
I start the day with the NY Times and then run through a variety of news, blogs and RSS feeds (Trend Hunter, Springwise, PSFK, Mashable, Seth Goodin, HBR.org, Wired and others) using the Feedly reader. I keep up with the industry news reading Crains, Advertising Age, MediaPost, Adweek and Event Marketer. LinkedIn is my go-to site for gathering intelligence about people and companies and finding networking contacts.
What are your favorite apps?
I use many apps regularly but a few daily use apps include: Keeper, Evernote, ScannerPro, IFly Pro, HopStop, Uber, The Weather Channel, Urbanspoon and BizXpense Trkr.
As a frequent flyer, what are three things you always pack?
A water bottle, granola bars and a phone charger.
This year’s holiday party proved once again that the New York office really knows how to “shake things up.” As guests stepped into our snowglobe-themed party space they stepped inside the wintery world of an MKTG snowglobe. Glittering gobo snowflakes fell from the ceiling while polar bears posed for selfies, loving coworkers pelted each other with fake snowballs, and the snowmen of IT mosh-pit the red-hot dance floor. In a word: face-melting.
psLIVE Atlanta hosted its Ugly Sweater Party on December 18th, utilizing our very own expansive warehouse space, and it was a huge success! Our annual traditions were intact—volunteering at the Salvation Army in the morning, a heated Bingo competition, Secret Santa gift exchanges, and our awards ceremony. We were spoiled with a southern style BBQ dinner before the awards which gave us the energy to celebrate all night! We crowned our very deserving award recipients as well as our Ugliest Sweater victor and moved out on the dance floor. With so many talented dancers, an impromptu dance-off went down and it epic! Victors were crowned and moments were forever burned into our memories. It was a great night of fun and camaraderie with friends and colleagues alike. We can’t wait to do it again next year!
The MKTG Chicago holiday party took place on December 11th in the covered patio of Stella Barra Pizzeria. The team enjoyed countless snacks, fancy seats, the company of special guests such as Ron Burgundy and Storm Trooper, homemade ice cream, and a very exciting White Elephant gift exchange. The team finished off the night with some extreme karaoke and a second feast of leftover pizza.
View the Beautiful Memories Slidely Slideshow here.
The Cincinnati office gathered for an ugly sweater & cookie exchange day! Some folks made sweaters, others borrowed and sadly – a few even owned. Our VP of Creative has a special name for these “ugly sweaters” and refers to them as “Holiday Awareness Sweaters”. She claims to own none. A fun day was had by all and even those too lazy to bake (the men) were lucky enough to get a few leftover cookies of their own. Merry Christmas from Cincinnati!
Great views, great food and great company made this end to 2014 one to remember for MKTG London as we move into a new era in 2015.
MKTG INC and TopSpin, a national philanthropic group dedicated to empowering America’s youth through education, brought together members of the sports, media and entertainment industries on Wednesday, December 10th for the sixth annual TopSpin charity table tennis tournament at Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City.
Dozens of celebrities, including current and former athletes including John Starks, John Wallace and Zab Judah, supported #TopSpin2014, which is produced pro-bono each year through our MKTG4GOOD initiative. In addition to world-class table tennis, the event featured three DJ’s, 15 food stations, top shelf bars, a silent auction and much more.
Proceeds benefit youth and education-focused programs in the New York metropolitan area. This year the money raised went to Horizons – BFS, A Better Chance, Wishbone, New Heights and Prep for Prep. With over 1,250 in attendance, the event raised $400k for these valuable programs.
For more information, visit www.topspincharity.com.
While the weather is certainly frightful in many parts of the USA, many of us still can’t stop dreaming of the sun, sand, and… grass? Golfers may need to travel a bit further than normal during the winter months to keep their game strong, but MKTG INC and Zacapa Rum were able to join some of them as they practiced their craft in sunny Arizona in December.
From December 3-5, 225 players from Troon Privé clubs nationwide came together at the Gallery Golf Club in Marana, AZ, to compete for the coveted title of Troon Cup champion. Against a dramatic backdrop of sandy deserts, blue skies and Saguaro cacti, Zacapa Rum was on hand from beginning to end, with tastings, cocktails and on-course sampling courtesy of our staff and talented National Brand Ambassador Robert Pallone.
So what’s a great cocktail to try when you’re out on the green? We suggest:
The Zacapa 23 Ginger
1.5 oz Zacapa 23 Rum
4 dashes Angostura bitters
5 mint leaves
Half of a fresh squeezed lemon
.75 oz Demerera simple syrup (or regular simple syrup)
Fever Tree Ginger Beer
Stir rum, mint, lemon, and simple syrup together. Pour over ice, add 4 dashes of bitters and top with Ginger Beer. Enjoy!
Have you looked at your business card recently? If not you should. MKTG INC’s cards are known for their unique perspective and purpose (the latter being expressly to embarrass their bearer, natch). This column takes a look at the business cards of our coworkers and hears the stories behind them. Here’s the story behind the business card of Emmett Aiello, Senior Design Director in MKTG INC’s New York headquarters.
This Emmett Aiello in front of you wanted to be a baseball player when he grew up.
This was my dream when I was 10. Since then it’s been a slow pulverization of my dreams, hopes and ambitions at the hands of a world too insensitive and ignorant to recognize my greatness.
We feel he’s hit a few home runs already.
Slight embellishment here. There were no actual home runs. I hit the fence once, had another one caught right at the fence by some snotty little dirtbag, and then got thrown out at home trying to leg one out. One year I did lead the league in HBP, however. (Editor’s Note: That’s Hit by Pitch, if you’re curious.)
He storyboarded the 81st Academy Awards, worked on the set design for our favorite shows The Colbert Report and The Daily Show, and now he’s working for us (maniacal laugh).
Some shameless self-promotion, this. I feel bad about it. But not as bad as you all should feel when considering the fact that you didn’t get to draw a barely representative version of Hugh Jackman dancing in a tux above the caption “Hugh Jackson – dancing!”
He tells us the best thing about his job is “starting with a blank page and filling it with something smart and beautiful”
They left off the rest of the sentence “…before it’s stripped of all its beauty by Allen Goldman.” #neverforget
Maya Angelou once said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
These days that famous line is especially resonant for us as experiential marketers. Consumers today seek inclusion, conversation, and, above all, powerful emotion from their brands. As technology thrives and the world vacillates between online and off, brand interactions must be deeply personal, customized and meaningful. At the core of all this lies experiential, the place where people join your circle, trust is built and lasting memories are made. Just one reason why investment in experiential marketing is up nearly 5% from last year.
Knowing the needs, aspirations and interests of the target consumer is more essential than ever before, and one brand has hit all these notes perfectly in 2014: GoPro.
In an era where standalone consumer electronics crash and burn at the hand of the dominant smartphone, GoPro’s $2.95 billion IPO was the largest of its kind in 20 years. What impresses me about this feat is not the camera’s innovative size or quality (while impressive), but rather the way the company has sold people on the experience of using the camera rather than the camera itself. They sell the spectacular memory of catching a surf wave, braving a double black diamond or jumping from an airplane (on my bucket list). A GoPro camera symbolizes the thrill seeker. A society of adventure lovers that captures life’s most exciting moments and empowers them by giving them a voice to share content digitally with fellow enthusiasts.
GoPro’s success is a testament to the emotional value we place on experiences. Technology is making this easier and easier. As we’ve seen with GoPro and other tech wearables, the latest gadgets allow brands to personalize experience even more through robust, user-generated data and content.
So what next? Savvy experiential marketing is the perfect medium for sowing intimate relationships and leaving your consumers feeling valued and inspired. Just look at the brilliant experiential campaigns put out by GoPro, Red Bull or Converse’s music-recording studios. These are the mavericks that take their purpose to heart and understand that while experiential may not reach the ten million viewers that see a flashy TV ad, it reaches a more concentrated and valuable audience.
One of the most innovative training experiences ever to hit New York City just wrapped, all thanks to Nike and MKTG INC.
As part of the NIKE+ NYC Training Journey, six of New York City’s most influential trainers were tasked with leading teams through a comprehensive four-week training journey. Each week, trainers and their teams were taken through dynamic workouts in iconic locations around the city, each time focusing on a new discipline of fitness. The first workout emphasized natural movement, and was led by nationally recognized Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Animal Flow instructors. The following week, MKTG transformed a rooftop to deliver an innovative workout focusing on power and explosiveness. The third and final team workout took place in an abandoned warehouse, where two professional boxers developed an intense workout to test the physical and mental toughness of the trainers and their teams.
After the three workouts were complete, a special forces-inspired competition tested the athletes and their all-around athletic ability. Each team was tested on their mastery of natural movement, power and stamina through a variety of exercises that were scored based on times, rank and repetition.
This program was the first of its kind. As Nike moves into 2015 and readies the launch of the “Nike Training” category, the brand will begin to target athletes who train like athletes, for the sake of fitness. Through this activation and beyond, MKTG INC will continue to be a key partner in the connecting and execution of these innovative workout sessions.
When deciding where in the world (literally) I wanted to go for my MKTG Rewards trip, I came up with a few ideals:
Must be one of the furthest countries possible
With a captivating history and super cool culture
That offers tons of adventuresome activity yet an abundance of untouched nature and breathtaking scenery
Where we can discover awesome food, drink some of the world’s best wine, meet the nicest people and have the opportunity to go to a legendary concert
And a beach…there’s gotta be a beach.
Surely these ridiculously high expectations could only be met in a fantasy country?! Or perhaps, a country that produced one of the most successful fantasy film series of all time…
Cue New Zealand.
After sharing my ambition with Marlena Edwards, she said, “Girl, if you’re going all the way to New Zealand you HAVE to go to Fiji!!”
My boyfriend, Dave, and I started our journey in a very fitting way – we sat back, relaxed and watched The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made on our Air New Zealand flight to Queenstown. Most MKTGers have had their fair share of airplane safety but this one is worth watching, despite the fact that at the end of the video you won’t take off for vacation.
After 22 long hours of travel we landed on the south island and made our way to an Airbnb apartment on the edge of a cliff, overlooking snowcapped mountains and turquoise-blue water. Our first activity included a visit to a cozy vineyard, a four-course lunch and A LOT of wine – perfect way to recover from jetlag. We explored Queenstown and hit the famed Fergburger, which nearly put us into food comas before jumping in our car for a road-trip.
Driving along the coast of New Zealand was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The country’s vistas were spectacular (it was hard not to drive off the road while being distracted by the beauty!) We made it to our kayak tour of Milford Sound, which is a fiord in the south island. Officially, a fiord is a long, narrow inlet with steep cliffs created by glacial erosion. Unofficially, it’s really cold(!) and one of the most remarkable sights I’ve ever experienced. With waterfalls, mountains and adorable little penguins, Dave and I were in awe as we kayaked through the area. After an overnight cruise, we hiked our way north and made the trek back towards Queenstown.
How did we top such an awesome adventure to end the Queenstown segment of the trip? Jump off a bridge, of course! Before we could change our minds, Dave and I found ourselves clipped into individual bungees on the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge. 43 meters and a 4-second free-fall later (it felt like an eternity), we could say that we lived through the scariest adrenaline rush ever! The video still makes my stomach flip:
Auckland, on the north island, is the metropolitan area of New Zealand so after getting a taste of kiwi city life, we boarded a ferry and headed to the most popular holiday destination of locals, Waiheke Island. Here we zip-lined our way around the beautiful, warm environment and spent the remainder of the day exploring vineyards, known for their Bordeaux wine-type grapes.
The Coromandel Peninsula was the next stop on our itinerary. Dave and I took a boat to a bus to a beach where we discovered the Coromandel’s hot springs. Just a few feet from the chilly ocean water, we dug a large hole in the sand and relaxed in the thermal water. We continued on to Cathedral Cove for a hike down to a beach with phenomenal rock formations.
How did we top such thrills and gorgeous sights to end the Auckland segment of the trip? A Rolling Stones concert, of course! Dave and I were lucky enough to score tickets to The Stones’ last stop on their tour. It was an epic way to end our time spent in New Zealand.
Thanks to Marlena’s advice, we were able to recover from the boats, hikes, bridges, drives and wine while laying on a white-sand beach at the Lomani Resort on the Mamanuca group of islands in Fiji. Snorkeling, paddle boarding and hammock-ing (with Pina Coladas) was how we spent these blissful days. The Fijian people are so welcoming and the serene atmosphere felt as if it were a dream.
So, how do we top the most epic vacation ever taken? Not sure it’s possible, but we are up for the challenge! Thank you, MKTG, for providing the best reward possible: an unforgettable experience.
The holiday season is upon us. However you celebrate, it’s an exciting and crazy time of year – the lights, the gifts, the time with friends and family. The shopping, the wrapping, the cooking. Fighting for a parking space, elbowing for an XBox and clamoring for an aisle seat. Rudolph marathons, office parties, tinsel everywhere, Christmas Carols, the Elf on a Shelf OMG WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON NEW YEAR’S EVE?
Woah, I’m thirsty. Are you thirsty?
Nothing will put you in the holiday spirit like a signature seasonal cocktail in front of the fireplace. Heck, if you don’t have a fireplace, turn on the Yule Log channel (it’s a real thing) and your space heater and grab a blanket and a buddy.
To help, here’s a few drink ideas from our friends at Diageo for the #12DaysofCocktails. And to help guarantee your name will be on the “nice” list after that fit you threw over the aisle seat, you might consider leaving one of these for Santa instead of those milk and cookies.
Johnnie Walker Gilded Punch
1 1/2 ounces Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve™
¼ ounce Dolin Blanc Vermouth
¼ ounce Simple Syrup
½ ounce Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 ounce Brut Champagne
Combine all ingredients except the champagne, in a mixing tin. Shake and strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne. Garnish with a wide lemon twist. (Recipe courtesy of Andy Seymour for Johnnie Walker)
Zacapa Solera Hot Cocoa
1 1/4 ounces Zacapa Rum 23
1/2 ounce Pedro Ximenez Sherry
5 ounces Hot Cocoa
Grated Cinnamon and Cracked Pink Peppercorn for Garnish
Combine rum, sherry and hot cocoa into a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Pour contents into glass mug. Garnish with grated cinnamon and pink peppercorn. (Recipe by Lynnette Marrero for Zacapa)
Build by pouring tequila and lemon juice over fresh ice in a collins glass. Top with equal parts spiced cider and ginger beer. Top with a dash of apple bitters. Garnish with candied ginger. (Recipe courtesy of Marshall Altier for Don Julio)
Ketel One Ernesto’s Way
1 ½ ounces Ketel One® Vodka
½ ounce Fresh Lime Juice
¼ ounce Maraschino Liqueur
1 dash Absinthe
2 ounces Grapefruit Soda
Combine first four ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a collins glass filled with ice. Top with grapefruit soda. Garnish with a mint sprig. (Recipe by Michael Martensen for Ketel One)
Don Julio Sage & Fig Smash
1 1/2 ounces Tequila Don Julio Reposado
5 Lemon Wedges
1/2 ounce Grenadine
2 slices Mission Fig
2 whole Star Anise
4-5 Sage Leaves
Muddle lemon wedges and star anise with grenadine in a cocktail shaker. Add tequila, sage sprig and 1 slice fig to the cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with fig slice, star anise and sage sprig. (Recipe courtesy of Marshall Altier for Don Julio)
Don Julio Siesta
1 1/2 ounces Tequila Don Julio Blanco
1/4 ounce Campari
3/4 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
3/4 ounce Simple Syrup
1/2 ounce Grapefruit Juice
Grapefruit Peel for Garnish
Combine tequila, Campari, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain contents into a coupe glass. Garnish with a long peel of grapefruit. (Recipe courtesy of Marshall Altier for Don Julio)
Zacapa Vines & Fallen Leaves (Punch – serves 30)
4 cups Zacapa Rum
1/4 cup Orange Liqueur
1 cup Riesling Sparkling Wine, chilled
1 cup Sparkling Water, chilled
1/4 cup Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
Fresh Sage and Cinnamon for Garnish
Combine lemon juice and pumpkin spice syrup into large punch bowl or pitcher and stir. Add in rum, orange liqueur, Riesling and sparkling water and stir gently until blended. Add Ice. Strain into punch glasses. Garnish with fresh sage and cinnamon. (Recipe by Lynnette Marrero for Zacapa)
Captain Morgan Snow Storm
1¼ ounces Captain Morgan White Rum
1 ounce Rumchata
¼ ounce Rumpleminz
Fill shaker with ice. Combine ingredients, shake and pour into a glass. Drizzle with chocolate syrup. (Recipe courtesy of Captain Morgan)
Tanqueray Gin Flip
1 ¼ ounces Tanqueray® London Dry
½ ounce almond syrup
½ ounce heavy cream
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake vigorously and pour into a coupe glass. Garnish with star anise. (Recipe courtesy of Tanqueray)