A Masterclass in Customer Engagement: Creating more “Shall We?” moments for Gordon’s Gin by turning Delays into ‘Yays’

As the top gin brand in the United Kingdom (UK) and a household name among spirits worldwide, Gordon’s Gin enjoys considerable brand recognition. Yet, like any industry mainstay, the company is constantly challenged by newcomers to the market.

Craft gin makers, for example, and specialty distillers keep pressure on Gordon’s to never rest on its laurels—to continue creating the memorable moments that keep customers choosing Gordon's as their preferred gin. It’s with this objective in mind that Gordon’s engaged MullenLowe Profero to try a new—and very bold—kind of promotion.

  • Famous London dry gin first produced in 1769
  • Owned by Diageo spirits company
  • World's best-selling London dry gin and top gin in the United Kingdom



The Challenge of Staying Relevant in a Crowded and Competitive era of craft

To stay atop a marketplace crowded with a variety of spirits—and top of mind for increasingly tech savvy consumers—Gordon’s Gin relies on more than newfangled marketing slogans, or clever ad campaigns designed to go viral on social media. The longtime purveyor of best-selling gin needed to do something bold and new.

Not only that, Gordon’s needed to do something that connected with its audience and created value for them in a tangible way. In a word, Gordon’s Gin needed to find a way to say “Next round is on us” for thousands of people. 

Where to find this volume of people and, perhaps more importantly, how to reach them in the same place, all at once? Launching this kind of data-driven campaign presented considerable technological obstacles.



As train delays rise, the price of Gordon’s Gin & Tonics falls

To answer these questions, we narrowed their scope and kept it simple. Consider this: commuters in the UK spend an estimated 3.6 million hours waiting for delayed trains. How do they spend this time? Staring at their smartphones, primarily, scrolling endlessly through social feeds until their platform is finally called. A miserable reality of commuter life, yes; but an opportunity for the team at Gordon’s to disrupt the status quo—to put some joy into the newsfeeds of thousands of commuters, all at once. All they needed was to tap into an existing consumer base, with predictable behavior patterns, at the right time.

This was the genesis of #YayDelay, a social media campaign based on geo-targeted ads first launched at Waterloo, one of London’s busiest (and most frustrating) stations. Using live train delay data and social sentiment relating to delays at Waterloo, the team was able to gauge the mood on the ground. 

This combination of real-time contextual data was analysed and applied to Friday evening averages, providing a realistic sense of commuter frustration. When the data signalled that frustration levels were hitting a boiling point, the team triggered a free Gordon’s Gin & Tonic mobile voucher for a station bar nearby. The value of the unlocked discount depended on the severity of the delay, from 50% off to totally complimentary.

#YayDelay was an entirely new way to proactively engage customers based on timing and sentiment. And whereas data-driven activity can often feel overly functional, #YayDelay made it emotional with the use of social sentiment: commuters could tweet #YayDelay and help increase the value of the voucher. An ingenious way to tap into existing data pool, consumer base, and sentiment to turn moments of commuter frustration into spontaneous 'Shall We?' moments—to turn otherwise frustrating delays into ‘yays.’ 

We combined information from emotional and functional data sources, using the open National Rail data, as well social sentiment from different platforms—a veritable ‘cocktail’ of location, station, route, and delay terms.


An award winning approach gaining an unfair share of attention and a win for Gin

The #YayDelay activation is a great example of how complex contextual data can fuel a simple and intuitive campaign experience without getting in the way. Gordon’s Gin simply tapped into an existing moment shared by many to create a brand moment that's not only engaging, but talkable. Highly talkable.

Just look at the uptake during the live period at Waterloo Station: 16% of all site visitors claimed a voucher. That’s a lot of Gordon’s Gin & Tonics! It’s a lot of brand visibility, too: the activation created 7.4 million impressions, of which 62% were earned.

#YayDelay is not a one-off off activation; it’s a highly efficient campaign that demonstrates the ability of traditional brands to get people talking without massive media buys. For Gordon’s Gin, it’s the beginning of a journey towards a new rush hour ritual: the Friday at 5 Shall We? Moment.


  • Shortlisted for 2 BIMA innovation awards 2018 - Data and Performance, Communications and Content 

16%conversion rates

7.4 millionreach

4innovation and data awards

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