Thirst's campaign for The Botanist casts its premium gin in a new light

Creative agency Thirst cleverly uses CGI in its new campaign for The Botanist. We explore the thinking behind the ads and how they were created.

The Botanist Islay Dry is no ordinary gin. It's made by the Bruichladdich Distillery on the Inner Hebrides island of Islay from 22 sustainably hand-picked botanicals between March and October by two full-time foragers. The name was inspired by the two local botanists who helped develop the recipe for the gin alongside former master distiller Jim McEwan.

To help communicate the unique qualities of its product, the brand teamed up with Glasgow-based creative agency Thirst to create a full 360° awareness campaign. Titled 'Look Further', it celebrates the brand's unique taste, provenance, and purpose.

The campaign builds on existing work celebrating the gin's Islay origins and a deeper understanding of the community, environment, and ingredients behind it.

Use of CGI

The centrepiece to the new ads, developed in collaboration with independent creative director Hugh Carswell, takes the Botanist's iconic tactile glass bottle – which features the names of the botanicals it contains, embossed in Latin – and transforms it into a CGI-rendered looking glass.

The visual effects were realised by Framestore, the Oscar-winning team behind Hollywood movies including Gravity, Blade Runner 2049, No Time To Die and Top Gun: Maverick.

Thirst built a full 360° global awareness campaign around the lens concept to be rolled out nationally and internationally in the UK, USA, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand.

Matt Burns, creative director at Thirst, explains that the new multichannel campaign leverages the three pillars that set The Botanist apart – taste, provenance, and purpose. Representations of each are viewed through the lens across the campaign in a suite of film, online, and OOH assets.

"The team behind the brand wanted to symbolise seeing the world through The Botanist's eyes," Burns explains. "Using the bottle as a prism through which to view the product, the process, and the world – as the brand sees it – was a unique way to achieve this."

"We set out to convey the brand's perpetually optimistic and progressive outlook through a richly rigorous messaging strategy and an art direction that entices discovery and rewards the senses," he continues.

"We wanted to connect the brand's strategy to creative expression, which we defined as the three key cornerstones intrinsic to The Botanist – the exceptional gin, the idiosyncratic Islay provenance and community-centric purpose – which informed a focused yet flexible roadmap for the campaign execution at every touchpoint, in line with the brand priorities."

The result is a full portfolio of touchpoints stretching across film, photography, advertising, social, retail, and trade that set the gin apart and truly reflect its unique heritage, provenance, and approach. "It gives consumers around the world an immediate sense of what The Botanist is about before they've even opened the bottle," says Matt.

Gareth Brown, global marketing director at Bruichladdich Distillery, adds: "There's a story behind the brand that we wanted to bring to a new audience. And using our iconic bottle as our jumping-off point, we invite consumers to look further with us by seeing the world through the eyes of The Botanist. This campaign is unique to the brand, and we're excited to share it with the world."


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