Archive for the ‘Austin’ tag

Meet Your Maker in Texas

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This year’s Austin Food + Wine Festival offered more than just a yellow rose of Texas; JW Marriott, as an official sponsor of the event, presented a bold-name lineup of wine and spirit makers to host tasting sessions in their warmly intimate “Meet the Maker” space. The wine and spirits makers included Tito Beveridge from Tito’s Vodka, Nate Weis from Silver Oak & Twomey Cellars, Daniel Barnes from Treaty Oak Distilling, Renee Airy from Duckhorn Vineyards, and David Page from Tequila Herradura. In between tasting sessions, mixologist, JW Marriott partner and Tippling Bros. co-founder Tad Carducci served up specialty cocktails to highlight some of the brands from the tasting sessions.

During the festival, more than 3000 festival-goers stopped by the “Meet the Maker” tent, including chefs Tim Love, Richard Blais, Jenn Louis, Ken Oringer and Steve McHugh.

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SXSW: It’s All About That Bass, ‘Bout That Bass (and Mobile, of course)

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This year was my first time attending SXSW. While I had heard all of the stories about how huge and overwhelming it was getting, I have to admit that thanks to some stealth planning and relying on some key mobile apps, I came back to NCAA with a ton of knowledge under my belt…as well as a deep knowledge of what makes a great taco!

After hours of panels and networking and lots of talk of mobile marketing, integrated apps, and keeping it “all about the charge,” this year at SXSW proved that 2015 is once again a hot year for mobile marketing and digital integration into campaigns.

My take on mobile…agree or not, you must adapt. Now.
We know that mobile has become a hugely effective way to reach and engage consumers, whose average attention span registers at an all-time low of just seven seconds. A slight aside, but interesting nonetheless, did you know that up to 25% of consumers, especially the younger set, currently only access the Internet via their mobile devices?

OK, back to business.

Brands have turned the corner and are regularly optimizing their content to adapt to mobile viewing, and restructuring messaging to be concise, to-the-point. They know that once they enter the playing field of mobile marketing, they are seamlessly integrating into consumer’s everyday lives. Utilizing localized marketing, and leveraging data to provide content that is personalized and relevant in real time will make for a better mobile experience.

My favorite App of SX: SXSW GO
One of the most useful apps I downloaded and used was the “SXSW Go” app which displaced printed guides and helped conference goers organize their schedules, and navigate the ever-expanding footprint of events. Additional functions of the app included push notifications about big sessions and events, and a networking tool called SXSocial.

St Bernard Mophie Resue[1] copy

Mophie partnered with the St. Bernard Rescue Foundation and with a team of St. Bernards, set out across SXSW to “save” attendees from dying batteries.

Super smart SX activation: MOPHIE
One of the biggest pain points for SXSWers was battery drain, and this came up time and time again. Smart marketer Mophie marketed into this opportunity with the “Mophie Rescue Lodge.”  Consumers were encouraged to screenshot their low battery life and tweet it to the brand for the potential to have a Mophie rep, along with a beautiful St. Bernard, come to your location and charge your phone for free. People loved it.

In conclusion: In our business at MKTG INC, we have done really well in understanding how to extend our physical events prior to and beyond the actual event by integrating mobile and social into our activations. Clearly, we are on the right track and it’s only getting easier for us to do this at the great benefit of our clients.  I’m excited to be back at the office and sharing my learnings with my co-workers, but I must admit, the tacos in Austin are worlds better than what I can find here in NYC!

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House of Walker Delights Austin and NYC

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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 featured an interactive tasting table showcasing custom whisky content that complement the tasting experience. Following the tasting, guests were welcomed at the Red Label and Black Label cocktail bars, which offered cocktails created by some of New York’s best bartenders, such as:

Midnight Waltz
(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 for easy sharing through RFID card. A separate room was dedicated to Gold Label Reserve, which featured high-energy music and was housed in an illuminated Scotch-and-Soda bar offering three custom soda recipes (spicy, savory and floral) specifically created to complement Gold Label Reserve’s flavor notes.


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.

**The Flavor Conductor was concepted by Bompas & Parr Agency as a Johnnie Walker Global initiative. This instrument will tour the globe as part of a larger activation titled “Symphony in Blue.”

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MKTG INC Hosts Tanqueray Green Room in Austin

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Photo Credit: Lauren Logan

At Austin, Texas’s Shoal Crossing, Tanqueray recently hosted the last of its very popular Green Room. Despite the unseasonably rainy weather, this last stop was a great success, bringing Tonight We Tanqueray to life for key bartenders and influencers all over Texas.

On Day 1, Global Ambassador Angus Winchester led two impactful sessions on the resurgence of both gin cocktails and Tanqueray No. TEN, arming bartenders with the knowledge they needed to become an authority on this most essential of white spirits. Attendees were also guided through a tasting of eight gins, including vintage Tanqueray London Dry. Bartenders then had the opportunity to get behind the bar and create variations on classic recipes.

The next day, Jennifer Colliau, founder of Small Hands Food, shared her knowledge with a hands-on session about creating (or re-creating) syrups, cordials and tonics for the bar. She taught guests how to showcase their creativity while maintaining profitability.  Attendees took it to the next level, “geeking out” over the in-depth education she provided by asking questions and creating their own syrups.

Business expert Sean Finter closed out the tour with another successful session for bar managers and owners. The full-day session was energetic and interactive from the very beginning, while guests learned about the top areas of business that will help give them the edge they need for success. Feedback included:

The Austin Green Room ended with a consumer event that brought the brand to life for all 150 attendees. Guests enjoyed a variety of cocktails like the bottled Tom Collins and Basil Smash, while listening to music from a local DJ and munching on small bites. All guests were drawn to the History of Advertising Room, where they were able to see the growth of Tanqueray as a brand with campaigns starting as far back as the 1930s.

Key accounts in attendance included Half Step, Farace Beverage, Searsucker, The Standard Pour, Drink Well, El Mercado, Love Goat and Geisha Room, and feedback included:

  • “That was EPIC, and thank you!”
  • “Inspirational, motivating and beyond my expectations.”
  • “Eye-opening, informative, deliberately well done. These are the types of things I think about at night. I just need more!”
  • “Clear, to the point, very influential advice for the better of the industry. Really liked it.”
  • “Refreshing and inspiring. Making change something to strive for to succeed and progress.”

After 18 memorable days in market this year, Tanqueray is excited to continue amplifying and evolving the Green Room next year!

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F1 “Joins the Pact”

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MG_0012_1Photos by: Casey Pinckard

Johnnie Walker is racing to gather 1 million commitments from race fans  to ‘Join The Pact’ and pledge to never drink and drive. To honor these commitments, the brand is also pledging 1 million kilometers of safe rides home at F1 races all across the globe.

At the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, The House of Walker welcomed 835 guests in five days to sign the social responsibility pledge, with Master of Whisky Stephen Wilson on hand to give personal whisky tastings.  Austin bartender Chris Bostick created bespoke cocktails with the help of Lucas Dimitri’s hand-chipped ice.

The House of Walker opened up with a day of training for industry professionals, led by Richard Boccato, as they explored the history and importance of ice to elevate serves of Johnnie Walker. That session was followed up with an industry-only night for 132 top professionals in the Austin area.


On media night, McLaren team driver Sergio Garcia arrived at The House of Walker to sign the ‘Join the Pact’ pledge wall and talk to 160 media and guests about responsible consumption. At the evening’s conclusion, Sergio personally drove three lucky guests home in his own Mercedes as other guests received a safe ride from the fleet of branded sedans.

Special House of Walker guests – DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys and Adam Richman from Man vs. Food – were in attendance and with some impromptu social media banter, the special guests reached more than 4.2 million people.

F1 fans also had the opportunity to join the global pledge throughout race week at 30 on-premise events and ten dedicated retail displays in and around Austin.

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This goes out to Fran

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Our Social Media Guru of the Galaxy, Francesca, just got back from the SXSW music festival in Austin, so what better way to celebrate her return than with this? A list of social media pet peeves from the bands themselves. Maybe Fran’s team can help them out?

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Written by Christopher Skinner
Christopher Skinner

March 23rd, 2011 at 5:23 pm