WhistlePig Case Study

Dittoe PR Drives Dank Results for a New Kind of Dry January

Dry January is so 2022. With consumers leaning away from Dry January to follow more mindful drinking habits, WhistlePig Whiskey sought to create the best of both worlds with a limited-time non-alcoholic cocktail made with non-psychoactive cannabis terpenes. But to disrupt a social movement as established as Dry January, WhistlePig would need a partner to culture-jack the post-holiday tradition and appeal to new audiences with ever-changing preferences. (And did we mention it was also a fundraiser to benefit bartenders?) Dittoe PR was happy to light up the media.

Challenge

Dry January is a social movement that encourages consumers to abstain from drinking alcohol following the indulgent (and often boozy) holiday season. For whiskey brands and bartenders, Dry January doesn’t drive many sales. However, Dry January seems to be past its prime with consumers leaning away from a strictly dry January to follow more mindful drinking trends such as “Damp January” and the rising popularity of “California Sober” – abstaining from alcohol and drugs except for marijuana. In true “why not both” fashion, WhistlePig saw an opportunity to pair its 100% Rye Non-Whiskey with the distinctive flavor and aroma of everyone’s best bud.

Enter: WhistlePig’s Limited Edition Dank & Dry Old Fashioned Cocktail. Made with 100% Rye Non-Whiskey, WhistlePig’s signature Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup, and non-psychoactive Vermont Cannabis Terpenes, the Dank & Dry Old Fashioned was set to release in January 2024 for a good cause.

100% of the proceeds from the Dank & Dry Old Fashioned sales would benefit bartenders through Turning Tables, a New Orleans-based non-profit that seeks to cultivate leadership, create real opportunity, and change the face of hospitality by establishing a model and standard for equitable access for the Black and Brown hospitality community of New Orleans.

Now it was Dittoe Public Relations’ turn to distill all of this into an intriguing media relations campaign to secure new, mainstream media to illustrate the intersection between non-alcoholic (N/A) spirits and cannabis while also highlighting how WhistlePig is keyed into and able to adapt to consumers’ changing preferences and trends.

Solution

Dittoe PR launched the Dank January campaign on Jan. 1, 2024, with a press release sticky-icky with weed references to cut through the dry pitches hitting reporters’ inboxes.

There were still plenty of Dry January participants and sober-curious folks, and Dank January met those consumers where they were at a time of lessened alcohol consumption and changing trends. To make a dent in the dry audience, Dittoe PR needed to emphasize that N/A beverages don’t have to compromise taste – dank and dry participants could still enjoy a great-tasting Maple Old Fashioned even when cutting back on spirits. The campaign also appealed to consumers setting New Year Resolutions to be more charitable by touting that WhistlePig would be puff-puff-passing proceeds from the cocktails to Turning Tables to benefit bartenders.

Dittoe PR targeted emerging media such as dedicated cannabis trade publications and by re-engaging with media across the consumer lifestyle, national business, and food and beverage outlets that were no longer interested in the typical Dry January launches. With the shift from dry to damp to dank, Dittoe PR also pursued advertising and marketing trade publications to highlight the creativity behind the campaign and how WhistlePig was staying in tune with shifting consumer trends, specifically those around mindful consumption, and by combining emerging trends in weed and non-alcoholic limited consumption.

WhistlePig Results

Dank January launched on January 1st with secured coverage in USA Today and FoodSided and international, national and trade stories hot on their heels. Dittoe PR achieved its goal of featuring WhistlePig in a new mainstream media outlet with USA Today, resulting in two separate stories and the Dank & Dry Old Fashioned being the only product included in a larger story about mindful drinking trends and wellness benefits. These stories alone resulted in more than 100 pick-ups. Additional national coverage included MAXIM, Men’s Journal, Trend Hunters, Adweek, Robb Report and more.

Trade coverage also increased, extending beyond food and beverage trade to cannabis trade, including Cannabis Products Insider and Marijuana Venture Magazine.

In total, Dittoe PR secured 282 media placements, 421.6 million impressions and more than $3.9 million in ad value for Dank January in just six weeks.

    But wait, there’s more. Affiliate marketing is a highly sought service among national consumer media when reviewing and including products in stories. Dittoe PR offers affiliate marketing management services and managed WhistlePig’s migration from its former affiliate marketing platform to ShareASale and provides recurring management and reporting through ShareASale as it ties into media outreach.

    Dank & Dry Old Fashioneds were viewable through both ShareASale and the platform SkimLinks. Notably, these did not have commissions tied to them, meaning there was no monetary incentive for outlets to post direct links to the product. From January 1 22, Dittoe PR recorded 348 transactions that resulted in approximately $26,000 in sales, the most popular being from Gear Patrol with 220 product transactions alone.

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