‘We’re looking for the lads’: Inside Jameson’s targeting strategy

Jameson Irish whiskey, part of France’s Pernod Ricard, is targeting an unlikely demo with its latest U.K. outdoor ad campaign: beer-swilling lads.

“The core challenge has been recruiting men within the age group 25-30 into the brand,” said Vicky Hoey, head of marketing at the brand. “We’re looking for ‘lads,’ really: those laid-back, urban, social males.”

Lads may not fit the typical demographic for a whiskey brand. Using outdoor advertising company Posterscope and Havas Media, Jameson launched a data-driven campaign to select the sites to most effectively reach young men. Outdoor advertising is increasingly using mobile and social data to understand what people think, feel and do, and targeting them accordingly.

“We needed a smart data strategy to reach this ‘lad’ audience,” said Ryan Hedditch, business director at Posterscope.

According to research from outdoor-planning agency Kinetic Worldwide, outdoor advertising makes £1 billion a year. Twenty-two percent of these sales are on digital out of home (DOOH), a figure set to rise to 35 percent in the next five years. Brands like Jameson contribute to this by planning campaigns by the audience rather than the format.

In the case of Jameson, the whiskey brand used an audience-discovery engine called Locomizer. The platform’s algorithm analyzed Twitter data that was geographically close to the 4,500 bars or pubs that sell Jameson whiskey. It zeroed in on males fitting the lad demo on Fridays and Saturdays to see where drinkers went before or after a night of drinking. Affinity scores were calculated for each DOOH site based on the data and the proximity to a whiskey-selling venue. Posterscope and Havas could use that data to place ads on nearby digital outdoor sites to prime the target audience before a night on the town.

One surprise that the data showed was that sites around the University of Oxford had particularly high affinity scores for certain venues, despite not being geographically close to them, which bucked the trend for other sites near universities in the country. Jameson’s messages were then tailored for students, appearing earlier in the week coinciding with more student drinking nights.

Jameson is used to running campaigns that last just a few weeks, but this campaign, at seven months, is the longest it has ever run. That, along with the use of data, makes sense, as reaching a new audience may take longer. Time will tell if targeting lads pays off for Jameson.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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