There are a lot of ways Sipsmith Gin, a 10-year-old London distillery that takes pride in leading a gin renaissance, could have told its story in the brand’s largest ad campaign yet. It could speak to its crisp flavor, or high-quality processes, or its London heritage.
Actually, the brand and agency Ogilvy U.K. managed to cram all that in while still being delightfully entertaining, thanks to a combination of witty copywriting, pitch-perfect delivery and intensely detailed animation.
In a spot launching today, we meet Mr. Swan, Sipsmith’s spokesanimal and star of its bottle design. He walks us through what the brand says is a perfect reproduction of the distillery, showing off its copper stills (claimed to be London’s first in 200 years), hand-dipped wax caps and more.
“We are delighted to bring the Sipsmith story to our audience, in this way for the first time, through the wonderful world of Mr. Swan,” says Kate Moorcroft, global marketing director of Sipsmith. “Stop-motion animation felt like the perfect way to tell the Sipsmith story as the skilled craftsmanship behind the creation of the film—with no detail overlooked, however small—resonated with our commitment to handcrafting Sipsmith Gin, making sure no corners are cut and no compromises are made.”
Staffed with several animators who worked on Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs,” the production brings a fascinating level of detail to the ad. As an example, the creative team notes that the inside pocket of Mr. Swan’s suit is hand-stitched, even though the viewer would never know.
“The more we delved into the rich story of Sipsmith Gin, the more we understood they don’t do what’s easy; they do what produces the best gin they can make,” says Jules Chalkley, chief ECD at Ogilvy U.K. “We played with a number of ideas on how to bring the brand to life, but nothing felt quite right until the ideation of Mr. Swan and the stop-motion concept came about with director Jeff Lowe. From there, everything began to fall into place.”
Client: Sipsmith Gin Sam Galsworthy, Founder Fairfax Hall, Founder Kate Moorcroft, Global Marketing Director Jim Mills, Head of Digital & Creative Sam Flintham-Ward, Head of UK Marketing
Agency: Ogilvy U.K. Jules Chalkley, Executive Creative Director Giles Montgomery, Creative Director Lotte Jeffs, Creative Director Ilka Mourao, Art Director Jonny Durgan, Copywriter Oliver Featherman, Agency Producer Kerry Capps, Business Director Charlotte Black, Account Manager Marianne Paton, Agency Project Manager
Sipsmith Credits for Mr Swan Campaign Kevin Chesters, CSO Marie Maurer, Strategy Director
Biscuit Films Jeff Low, Director Kwok Yau, Producer Gabija Lauce, Production Assistant
The Mill Nicole Duncan, Postproduction Producer James Bamford, Colorist
Work Editorial Saam Hodivala, Editor
750 Sound Sam Robson, Sound Engineer
Julian Barrett, Voiceover