Shortlisted 2022

Luxury & Lifestyle


Monkey Shoulder Whisky

Entered by:

iProspect Global


Yahoo Creative Studios, Yahoo

Monkey Shoulder - ‘From Mixing Cocktails To Mixing Metaverse Beats’

The Challenge

Monkey Shoulder (MOSH) is a whisky created as a result of a close relationship with the bartender community.

Back in the mid-2000s, parent company William Grant & Sons saw a rise in bartenders mixing bourbon in cocktails. However, were you to go back 15 years the scotch category had a number of pretensions about it – and generally putting scotch in cocktails wasn’t the ‘done thing’.

So, off the back of that relationship with bartenders, Monkey Shoulder was born – an extremely high quality blended malt whiskey that was made for mixing – a product with great quality and flavour but without any pretension to it.

Fast forward to today and MOSH still has that tight bond with bartenders and brand ambassadors, and pre-pandemic the brand hosted annual get-togethers for those communities – mini festivals if you like – called Camp Monkey – to educate, celebrate and reward – and generally give back to those communities.

The pandemic put those real-world events on hold but the brand pivoted to hosting virtual versions of Camp Monkey; in the form of livestreams beamed into the homes of the (at times struggling) bartender community.

This got us thinking – MOSH targets a younger whisky consumer; a consumer who in the future was probably going to be spending less time at massive in-person festivals (where MOSH had previously showed up). Seeing the rise of virtual events and festivals, we challenged ourselves with asking what could MOSH‘s role be in providing new virtual experiences for its customers?

In truth, what we ended up activating was a bit of a risk, but our close bond with the brand enabled them to see it as a bold first foray into the new world – and we have learned a lot through the process.

The Content Solution

Music is such a big part of what Monkey Shoulder, as a brand, do and stand for. Being a whisky that’s made for mixing, the brand has enjoyed a longstanding close relationship with the mixed music community and legendary DJs, including A-Skillz and Krafty Kuts.

Our creative approach was to take the brand’s expertise in physical events and translate their music heritage into a virtual experience, in a way that was unmistakably MOSH.

Working with Yahoo’s Creative Studio team we identified the perfect opportunity – the Metaverse Festival.

Running in Decentraland, a 3D virtual world browser-based platform (or metaverse), from October 21–24 2021, the Metaverse Festival featured over 80 artists, including Deadmau5, Alison Wonderland, Paris Hilton, Nina Nesbitt and dozens of other global artists across the musical spectrum.

In true Monkey Shoulder style we wanted to cheekily disrupt the event, so we successfully pitched the idea of running an after party, showing the night doesn’t need to end just because the curtain had come down on the festival’s headliners..

Utilising our existing relationships with DJs, we called up A-Skillz and Krafty Kuts to see if they wanted to come along for the virtual ride – and they were bang up for it! We commissioned an exclusive 45-minute DJ set and, rather than just playing a video performance at the after party, we instead transported our stars into the metaverse as 3D rendered avatars.

The After-Party DJ set from Krafty Kuts and A.Skillz was shot using a combination of game engine and motion capture technology at Yahoo Creative Studios in Holborn, London. Custom Ready Player Me avatars were created and rigged for body and facial performance capture, rendered in real-time using Unreal Engine, that is also used to power movies and AAA games, like Fortnite.

A focus of our metaverse music concept included testing the popularity of NFTs. Again, working with Yahoo, we produced a series of digital garments (NFTs) featuring the brand or DJs, which Festival-goers were able to purchase. Excitingly, all of these digital wearables sold out within 20 minutes.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

This campaign wouldn’t have gotten off the ground without the pioneering creative team from Yahoo, who designed and captured an incredible DJ performance for cutting edge metaverse media.

Yahoo were also able to activate an effective paid media strategy across their own inventory and broader Social targeting – this enabled us to reach current and new audiences with our innovative campaign content.

The 3D-rendered 45-minute DJ set was our ultimate content destination; whether in live attendance at the festival or highlighted through paid media formats after the event.

We created in-festival signage throughout the Metaverse Festival itself, as well as on festival listings, to direct attendees to our bespoke MOSH After Party stage LIVE.

However, with metaverses still quite nascent and requiring relatively high-spec computers to access (thereby potentially limiting audiences), we focused the majority of paid media to driving post-event reach via promoted content. A custom landing page was created to house the content we wanted our audience to have easy access to, and in so doing we simplified the digital user journey.

Our custom landing page – (again, produced by Yahoo Creative Studios) – contained:

  • More information about why Monkey Shoulder were dipping their toe into the metaverse.
  • Our 3-minute Behind the Scenes video, which showed the production process of capturing our DJs in next-level 3D.
  • A link to our branded Mixcloud profile, where you could listen to the full exclusive set from A-Skillz and Krafty Kuts.
  • Additional information about our DJ friends, the Decentraland metaverse, and the digital merch it was possible to get ahold of while at the festival.

We used paid media to test audience appetite for metaverse activations. As we’ve covered, we think our audience are going to be spending more time in these spaces, and we sought to understand the most relevant ‘way in’ for MOSH.

A combination of traffic-driving formats were created by Yahoo, including:

  • Native ads that ran across Yahoo’s Owned & Operated network, targeted to Monkey Shoulder’s audience.
  • Providing in-situ relevance across key test audience passion points: Music, Tech, Events
  • Vertical ‘brand story’ video ads, again targeted across Yahoo.
  • Expanding reach and enabling comparison vs Social media benchmarks.
  • Social formats (videos, image carousels), all optimised to link clicks.
  • Through which we spoke to our current followers – a loyal audience who have been with us as MOSH has grown from a niche brand for bartenders to the category pioneer it is today.

The Result

From the beginning this campaign was seen by MOSH as a leap into the future – A test campaign encompassing:

  • Next-gen content capture
  • Event planning for virtual spaces
  • Paid media driving to a new type of brand destination

As with any innovation project, often the best approach is to prepare for stepping stones rather than expecting to build a rocket on your first attempt – And the idea of the space-race is a perfect metaphor for the benefits we found when dipping our toe into the new world of metaverses: NASA didn’t just send people to the moon, they innovated in countless areas along the way.

We sought to discover what MOSH‘s role could be in providing new virtual experiences and we first needed to learn how to produce assets for virtual spaces. Working with Yahoo’s Creative Studio on the After Party, we delivered a first for the brand and category, and developed a new creative skillset that will be invaluable in the future.

Engagement with the After Party was a key indicator of success, and we received an average viewing time of over 11minutes per attendee – A duration beyond our wildest dreams.

Our paid Social media taught us that our audience were more interested in seeing the full ‘behind the scenes’ process than short snippets; demonstrating an appreciation of our openness in bringing people along our journey as we tested the unknown.

Our digital wearables as NFTs sold out completely at the Metaverse Festival, but the more interesting result was in how our broader audience responded to the topic: Our native ads showed high audience engagement (it was the best performing creative from an engagement KPI).

This success of the campaign has since prompted MOSH to partner with Bored Ape Yacht Club for a limited edition new product launch –