Marketing

The strategy behind Bombay Sapphire's new festive storefronts

Those who pass by the window showcase in New York City can scan a QR code to grab a free drink at a nearby restaurant.
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Bombay Sapphire

· 3 min read

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The holidays are here, and brands are bringing out all the (jingle) bells and whistles to connect with people IRL. In a nod to the holiday storefronts of department stores past and present, Amazon recently rolled out a holiday-window showcase in New York City. Now, gin brand Bombay Sapphire has one of its own.

The Bombay Sapphire “Holiday Storefront Series” will take place December 9–19, consisting of three window displays in the heart of Soho. Those passing by will be able to see holiday-inspired fashion, art, and live dance performances. And, of course, free drinks are involved.

The event is part of what Sapphire’s brand director, Jaime Keller, calls “thoughtful experiential” marketing. Keller sees the reemergence of intimate, in-person events as key to the brand’s marketing strategy in 2022. Part of the reason, she told Marketing Brew, is consumers feel “tired of being constrained from the pandemic.”

  • “It’s important for brands to inspire and connect with people through genuine experiences and connections because that will resonate most,” Keller elaborated.

Measuring connection

When it comes to measuring the impact of the brand’s latest experiential campaign, there are a few metrics Sapphire is keeping tabs on:

  • QR codes: Once a black sheep in marketing, QR codes have emerged as a Covid–friendly way for users to get information about practically anything in real time. Keller said Bombay Sapphire will place QR codes on the storefronts to drive and track sales of holiday gift tins on its website.
  • Partnerships: Nearby restaurants Dante West Village, Ama Raw Bar West Village, Gelso & Grand, and Lil’ Frankie’s will be offering free drinks to visitors. All passersby have to do is scan a QR code while at the storefronts, then show the page to bartenders at any one of the locations. According to Keller, success here will be measured in positive feedback and partners’ willingness to re-partner on future campaigns.
  • Share of voice: The brand will also watch how much buzz the event generates online.

But we’re still in a pandemic

Even with boosters and vaccine mandates, there’s still a lot of uncertainty around experiential marketing with new variants on the loose (looking at you, Omicron).

  • Keller said Sapphire uses local and CDC guidelines as their “guiding light” when planning in-person events. In the case of its storefront activation, being outside worked in the company’s favor.
  • For indoor events, Keller said Sapphire has staggered entrance times to ensure social distancing. Proof of vaccination was also required to enter The Other Art Fair, which the company sponsored in November.

Looking ahead to 2022, Keller expects brands to continue engaging with people on a personal level:

  • “I think experiential will come back to life,” she said. But, “I think different brands will have a different point of view on what scale looks like to them.”
  • She’s also keeping an eye on the metaverse and the potential for virtual gatherings: “We will always love to push the envelope in terms of how we show up.”—KH
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