Bushmills picks up the tab for ‘Peaky Blinders’ fans for St. Patrick’s Day

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Bushmills Irish Whiskey has partnered with Endemol Shine North America and Caryn Mandabach Productions for promotions tied to the hit TV series “Peaky Blinders,” now in its final season, according to a press release.
  • The tie-in draws a connection between the hardscrabble 400-year history of Bushmills, the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery, and the Shelby crime family at the center of “Peaky Blinders.” Today through March 17, consumers can order a “Shelby Sour” cocktail inspired by Prohibition-era mixes from their local bar and the brand will help cover the cost.
  • While the bar component is timed for St. Patrick’s Day, Bushmills and Caryn Mandabach will introduce co-branded content, a national advertising campaign and experiential activations later this year. Marketers continue to deepen their integrations around TV shows and movies in ways that extend beyond product placements.

Dive Insight:

Bushmills is currying favor with pub-going “Peaky Blinders” fans as buzz builds for the gritty period drama’s sixth and final season. While the show airs on BBC One on its home turf in the U.K., it’s gained a large U.S. following through a streaming rights deal with Netflix. Since Netflix doesn’t support ads — and since “Peaky Blinders” is set decades in the past — brands interested in getting in on the hype need to think of different methods of reaching consumers.

Bushmills is kickstarting a larger partnership with Caryn Mandabach, the official brand owner and production company of “Peaky Blinders,” with a focus on St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. The strategy sends another signal that marketers are gravitating again toward in-person experiences as pandemic restrictions continue to be loosened.

Bushmills already has a program in place to help cover a customer’s first order of its whiskey from bars and restaurants or retailers. The company in the spring will additionally launch Bushmills Prohibition Recipe, a new bourbon barrel-aged whiskey that bears copy referencing the Shelby clan of Prohibition gangsters.

For Bushmills, landing as the official whiskey of “Peaky Blinders” may help the brand connect with younger consumers that have shunned linear TV and proved increasingly averse to traditional advertising tactics.

“Over the course of our partnership, we are excited to connect with a new, dynamic generation of whiskey drinkers through collaborative content and experiences that speak to the history and heart of our brand,” said Lander Otegui, senior vice president of marketing at Proximo Spirits, the importer and distributor of Bushmills.

Bushmills isn’t alone in pursuing this approach. Old Spice in December linked up with Netflix’s “The Witcher” to produce a line of deodorants tied to the dark fantasy series. The campaign included integrations with the Dungeons & Dragons livestreaming show “Critical Role,” and the first custom promoted chatbot for a consumer packaged goods brand on Reddit.

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