William Grant and Sons’ The Balvenie is distinct among Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, created thanks to a unique combination of natural alchemy and centuries old craftsmanship. The brand is positioned as the last of its kind in the Scottish Highlands to honor the five rare crafts – they still grow their own barley, keep the faith with a traditional malting floor, keep a resident coppersmith to maintain stills and barrels, and boast a 50+ year Malt Master to preside over the maturation process.

Involved for years as an American Craft Council partner, The Balvenie was in search of the perfect curator to take their audience on a tour of craft in the United States. <Cue Anthony Bourdain>


The Balvenie launched the Raw Craft campaign in March 2015, embarking on an 18-month partnership with celebrity chef and Emmy-award winning television personality, Anthony Bourdain.

The Social Campaign

Within weeks of kicking off our Digital AOR, we launched a full-scale social campaign in support of Raw Craft. The Balvenie’s 2014 craft campaign was among the brand’s lowest ranked social content, performing 68% below the Facebook and 91% below the Twitter engagement rate benchmark.

On Facebook, our Raw Craft content performed 20% better than previous year’s craft content and at a rate within 1% of the engagement rate benchmark. Each of these posts featured a Raw Craft 30s teaser video, and earned an average view through of 28%, more than twice that of the industry average.

On Twitter, we leveraged a strong hashtag strategy and our celebrity partner to increase performance. As a result, Raw Craft content surpassed all other content with 11x more reach and 8x more engagement per post on average.

Digital Support

Each video launch was supported by an early release to the Warehouse 24 registered members base. Members gained early access to videos on YouTube and RM served as a key driver to rawcraft.us. The average view through rate on YouTube for the series was 55%, with industry averages at 20-25%, successfully engaging our core audience. Rawcraft.us grew a subscriber base of nearly 27,000 in only 10 months, surpassing the closest category competitor, Johnnie Walker’s YouTube subscribers by nearly 6,000.

“Ask Bourdain” Twitter Q&A

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Twitter is the brand’s key focus channel for growth. As part of the brand’s Anthony Bourdain contract, there were a finite number of social engagements to be used to support content. In lieu of these, ISL suggested leveraging Bourdain for an hour-long Twitter Q&A, leading to the “Ask Bourdain” event. With only a week to prepare, the ISL team prepared and executed on the campaign.


We leveraged our email subscriber base to generate questions and gained 79 followers (nearly 2%) in the two-day period surrounding the Q&A.


During the Q&A our impressions spiked in impressions by 619% and profile visits increased by 170%, resulting in a highly successful organic Twitter campaign.