Gin distiller Sipsmith launched its first marketing campaign on Wednesday and introduced the world to a character named Mr. Swan. The new spot, called “We Make Gin Not Compromises,” uses stop-motion animation as a metaphor for the brand’s attention to detail.
Mr. Swan, voiced by comedian Julian Barratt, takes viewers through six, meticulously detailed sets and explains what makes Sipsmith taste “so outrageously good.” The campaign doesn’t take itself too seriously, portraying Mr. Swan as a dashing but slightly awkward character.
The spot was directed by Jeff Lowe, who has created a number of humor- and celebrity-filled ads including those for Uggs, Vodaphone and Tena Men.
For “We Make Gin Not Compromises,” each puppet was hand-made down to the tiny buttons on Mr. Swan’s jacket. Some of the sets recreated locations inside the Sipsmith distillery in 1:24 scale.
“Stop motion, at a glance, is very hand-made,” said Lowe in a behind-the-scenes video. “It’s obvious that someone took a lot of time to make it and I think that’s also true about Sipsmith gin.”
Sipsmith was founded in 2009 by two best friends. Despite being acquired by Beam Suntory some years later, the distillery still makes small batches of gin by hand.
“This is our 10th year anniversary,” said Sipsmith co-founder Sam Galsworthy. “We had to think of a way to bring Sipsmith to the next level. We have opted for this extraordinary advert—no corner is cut, no compromise is made. It is all hand-crafted. It has to get down to the very smallest bit of detail [and] this film does just that.”
Mr. Swan’s big debut may be Sipsmith’s first major brand campaign, but the distillery has used other methods to gain consumer trust and awareness. In 2016, the brand offered a subscription service and this past November, Sipsmith launched a pop-up gin shop in central London—the first of its kind in over 200 years.
Thanks to a recent gin boom in the UK, Sipsmith revenue is on the rise—showing double-digit growth in the first half of 2018, according to The Spirits Business. Gin is estimated to be a £2 billion ($2.6 billion) industry with the US as its largest importer.
The US’s thirst for gin is giving rise to competitors, such as Aviation Gin, which sold a majority stake to actor Ryan Reynolds in 2017. Aviation also uses humor to market its spirits, such as a mock interview between Reynolds and his “brother,” as well as a team up with Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson.