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Despite holding first position within the standard whisky segment, William Lawson’s faced aggressive competition in terms of pricing and packaging strategies across its lead distribution channel - convenience stores. It was therefore essential to build a relationship with its target beyond pricing, based on brand value in order to preserve leadership and increase sales.

The brand is speaking to 18-24 y/o middle-class millennials, which consume beer, entering the world of spirits. Fun comes first and they’re living for experiences they can share and the stories these generate. They work around their limited budget finding unconventional and astute solutions, anchored to a life stage where they challenge the status quo and re-write their own rules. They belong to their pack, their tribe, their clan – which hold a parallel mind-set and unconventional attitude. They are not rebels, they are themselves, and they find ingenious ways to overcome the day-to-day challenges which speak to a generation. 

William Lawson’s global assets heavily revolved around its Scottish heritage with little relevance to Mexico. At a superficial glance, its flagship asset, the Highlander, was poorly understood and lacked relatability with the local target. Upon a deeper dive however, what the Highlander represents, the attitude and cunning problem-solving it engulfs are completely relatable and very much mirrored the local target’s. The Highlander moves away from the category’s usual codes of conduct and re-defines his own. He stands with his clan, boldly reinventing their own rules to reach unorthodox solutions, all in the name of shared experiences!


William Lawson’s decided to break the rules of the world of whisky, inviting millennials to leave behind conventionalism and do things their own way, chasing experiences, through their astute unconventional problem-solving – and when it came to breaking the rules, it was up to William Lawson’s to set the example!

In order to effectively engage with the new understanding of its target, digital executions of the Highlander were eliminated, however his attitude was maintained and embodied by a pair of young millennial friends, which would generate a closer connection to the target.

Through 15 second clips of these characters’ everyday lives, the target watched the pair engage in challenges which mirrored their own, but culminating in the Mexican/Highlander astute problem-solving twist. Facebook was the obvious platform of choice due to its reach potential, however the brand decided to break the rules again and run the videos on Instagram, realising its strong affinity with the target, and taking advantage of its new video format. 

Once this connection with its consumer was built, it had to become a part of its target’s experiences making the brand visible and establishing relevance. It needed to be tattooed across its target’s minds and experiences in order to strengthen the relationship with consumers, building brand equity and influencing purchase intention. Therefore, the target was invited to share their best stories with friends on their Facebook profiles through the #HistoriasDelClan (“#ClanStories”), in exchange for a new story: four friends winning a shared tattoo at a private event.


For the first part of the strategy, “No Rules”, PHD created content revolving around two fictional characters’ day-to-day lives, within seven 15-second Instagram videos, across two months (January – February). Facebook acted as a complement, amplifying these videos, however Instagram remained the main platform. Therefore, the videos were designed and produced under a square 1:1 format to better suit. William Lawson’s became the first brand to dare launch a web miniseries on Instagram. Having had such a positive response, the miniseries was relaunched throughout October-November across YouTube, programmatic, Facebook, and Instagram.

For the second part of its strategy #HistoriasDelClan (“#ClanStories”), PHD developed a dynamic where participants were encouraged to share their best stories amongst friends on their Facebook profiles, with the hashtag #HistoriasDelClan, in order to possibly win a free tattoo for four friends by one of Mexico’s most renowned tattoo parlours, Ink Inc. Collective. To generate more buzz and engagement it invited Ben Shorts – a celebrated influencer amongst the target, as well as Ink Inc. Collective, to help amplify the event and encourage participation.

The brand created seven promoted posts on Facebook inviting participation in the event, which migrated from teasers to more detailed infographics explaining the dynamic. Between its two partner influencers, 12 posts inviting the target audience to participate were released on Facebook, along with three videos on YouTube with content related to stories Ben Shorts experienced alongside his friends, in order to clarify what “clan stories” was all about, and inviting followers to participate.


William Lawson’s outdid its planned objective (3% growth in volume), rising 3% above within just one trimester, leading to a total growth in volume of sales in convenience stores of 6%.

In terms of communication objectives, it managed to increase familiarity (awareness), from 28% to 60% (considering 56% as the original objective) in just one year. Furthermore, it elevated desire indicators to 48%, 4% over the pre-set objective.

And most significantly, the “No Rules” pioneer Instagram miniseries campaign not only reached 89% of its potential digital universe, but successfully achieved that the 18 million millennials that saw it for the first time became hooked and watched the full seven clips of the series.

William Lawson’s Facebook paid media held a reach of six million, generating 1.6 million in terms of Engagement, with an engagement rate of 9% (when the average for the category is approximately 4%).

#HistoriasDelClan alone, had a total of 107,999 interactions, generating 11,276 comments and 2,283 shares – all feeding the Engagement rate. The activity boasted a total reach of 10,197,370 where 240 participants took part in the experience.

Lastly, the brand welcomed 9,000 new friends to its Facebook community, 38% more than its monthly average.

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William Lawson
Drinks (alcoholic)
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