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Ketel One?s new campaign sells spirits through humor and immersive experiences

Vodka company Ketel One has released a series of droll ?training videos? that paint the brand?s legacy in off-kilter tones, lampooning everything from the liquor?s distillation process to the company?s own Dutch origins.

The content that comprises Ketel One?s You Don?t Understand, It Has to Be Perfect campaign lives on digital platforms?primarily YouTube?and will also roll out on traditional media arenas. The company is also promoting a platform called Ketel One Virtual Reality, an immersive experience that will offer a 360-degree vantage of the brand?s distillery, European locales important to the brand?s history and other brand content. 

?We take our work very seriously, not ourselves,? said Carl Nolet Jr., CEO of Nolet Spirits USA. ?The stories we tell are all true and based on family events, beliefs and the pressure of upholding 11 generations of legacy for generations to come.?

Humor for spirits
Ketel One?s campaign features eight videos, all clocking in at 30 seconds or less. The videos present the viewer with a caricature of the distillation process and the brand?s history, which goes back over 300 years. 

In one video, a narrator outlines an absurd, bureaucratic process that Ketel One supposedly uses to approve of signatures on their bottles, which includes an identity expert interrogating signees on subjects such as the name of their first pet.

Another video instructs future generations in line at the distillery on appropriate ?distilling tie knots;? fans of the Half Windsor need not watch. 

The entire campaign is in service to the notion that is shared by many competing liquor marketing campaigns: that the company?s vodka is of the highest quality, quality that is achieved through a tireless process. Now, whether that process is utilitarian enough to actually base a business on is apparently of no concern to the distillers at Ketel One, or so its marketing team would have consumers believe. 

Immersive experience
The vodka brand is also turning to a platform that is becoming a mainstay within the food and beverage marketing playbook; Ketel One Virtual Reality is now available through a mobile-optimized Web site.

In addition to a tour of the distillery, the platform currently offers immersive experiences of Schiedam, Holland and a cocktail demonstration narrated by mixologist Dale DeGroff.

And to promote the new platform, Ketel One is following the example of none other than The New York Times: much like the latter did last November in collaboration with Google, the vodka company is giving away more than 80,000 limited edition branded virtual reality viewers with 1.75-liter bottles of Ketel One (see story).

Oregon-based craft brewery Deschutes became one of the first breweries of its kind to leverage virtual reality to communicate its brand message, releasing multiple stereoscopic 360-degree videos that bring the stories behind two of its beers to life on users? smartphones (see story).

?Lucky for us, we have a true story to tell about living up to a legacy, striving for perfection in every batch, and the pressure to please one?s family,? Mr. Nolet Jr. said. ?These motivations are universally relatable. 

"My family and I are proud of what we have achieved over the last 325 years, but rest assured, we are just getting started.?