/// Want to Sell Something? Know Thy Audience…
In a seemingly innocuous tale about how Irish whisky has had the comeback of spirits comebacks, Esquire lets its readers in on a very important tip for anyone trying to market a brand, product or event: if you want the world to buy what you’re selling, you have to know how to talk to your audience.
Then, in 1988, the French company Pernod Ricard bought IDL and came up with a strategy: It would take Jameson, the lightest of IDL’s blends, and use it to go after vodka and white-rum drinkers, marketing it not as Irish whiskey, or indeed as whiskey at all, but as what it was—a light, smooth, and pleasant drink that went down as easily in shots as it did mixed with ginger ale or anything else. Whiskey geeks were not impressed.
Pretty much everybody else was, though: Jameson sales took off on afterburners, growing by at least 20 percent a year for the last decade—and this without the monkeying around with age, proof, blend, or price that other whiskey brands had done in similar circumstances. Instead IDL met the exploding demand the old-fashioned way: by making more whiskey.
By first identifying, then paying attention to the culture, vocabulary and whims of their chosen audience, Pernod Ricard took something very few people were consuming and made it a household name synonymous with the word “whiskey.”