Ararat Promo, Case study THE LEGEND OF AKHTAMAR by Amsterdam Worldwide

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Industry Cognac
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Netherlands
Agency Amsterdam Worldwide
Creative Director Andrew Watson
Producer Audrey Hawkins, Tanja Schulze
Photographer Erwin Olaf Photography
Released November 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Branded Content
Product/Service: ARARAT BRANDY
Date of First Appearance: Nov 13 2009 12:00AM
Entry URL:
Executive Art Director: Richard Gorodecky (Amsterdam Worldwide)
Creative Director: Andrew Watson (Amsterdam Worldwide)
Head of Design: Dave Fikkert (Amsterdam Worldwide)
Photographer: Erwin Olaf (Studio Erwin Olaf)
Directors: Paul and Ludwig Shammasian
Planning Director: Jonathan Fletcher (Amsterdam Worldwide)
Planner: Ben Jaffe (Amsterdam Worldwide)
Producer: Tanja Schulze (Amsterdam Worldwide)
Client Services Director: Hazel Livingstone (Amsterdam Worldwide)
Account Manager: Maja Beckman (Amsterdam Worldwide)
Digital Director/Executive Producer: Jan-Peter Wiersma (Amsterdam Worldwide)
Music Artist: Djivan Gasparyan
Composer: Stephen Hilton
Executive Producer: Shirley Hartog (Magic Group)
Executive Producer: Sara Cummins (Coy! Communications)
Director of Photography/Cameraman: Shane Daly
Production Manager: Natalie Isaac
Producer: Audrey Hawkins
Direct Creativity and Luxury: Vadim Grigorian (Pernod Ricard Rouss)
Brand Director Ararat: Sergey Ivanov (Pernod Ricard Rouss)
Media placement: Internet Trailer - - 13th November 2009
Media placement: Film Premiers - Moscow, Russia - 27th November 2009
Media placement: Print - OK! Magazine, Russia - 13th November 2009
Media placement: Outdoor - Yerevan, Armenia - 1st October 2009
Media placement: Banners - - 19th November 2009
Media placement: Website - - 13th November 2009
Media placement: Internet Film - - 1 January 2010

Results and Effectiveness
Pre-launch, over 15,000 people shared the film trailer online. Akhtamar caught the imagination of journalists, opinion leaders, bloggers and Tweeters globally, generating over half a million Euros in free PR. In January, over 410,000 people (53% of site visitors) watched the entire 20-minute film. The website received almost 3 million page views (averaging 13,500 visitors daily). Social media sites including Facebook and Vkontakte were in the top 10 traffic sources, 70% of site traffic came from the target region. Ararat maintained market share in Russia. And in Armenia sales rose by 6% with Akhtamar’s rising an amazing 30%.

Creative Execution
Our approach was to forge cultural connections from the past with the present. Central to the campaign was a 20-minute film, Akhtamar - an ancient Armenian legend retold for a modern-day audience. Akhtamar (which is also a product name) promotes the brand’s genuine heritage by celebrating authentic Armenian traditions in the retelling of a classic tale of unrequited love. Extending the movie’s themes to bring Armenia’s legendary past into a current context, we created a print and billboard campaign in the style of movie posters. A 60-second trailer and banner campaign were used to build anticipation to the online launch date of 1 January 2010. With a hugely ambitious PR and social-media campaign, and red carpet premiers in key cities, the word spread throughout Eastern Europe and the global Armenian Diaspora.

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
Launched in 1887, Pernod Ricard’s Ararat brandy symbolises Armenian pride, hospitality and tradition. It has come under attack from newcomers to the Russian brandy market who claim heritage, but have none. To introduce Ararat to a new generation of brandy drinkers and re-establish its leadership position amongst Russians and Armenians worldwide, we had to transcend the category rather than compete for attention in an already overcrowded market. We needed to look to the future, but remain true to Ararat’s rich past. We wanted to do something with real cultural relevance to define a uniquely ownable role for the Ararat brand within people’s hearts. Armenia is a land of legends, but their relevance is fading. Our idea was to start a renaissance of storytelling to remind an ancient culture of their oldest brand; stories with enough power they would be heard all over Eastern Europe and beyond.