Chivas scotches fears of a downturn with extravagant exuberance

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 September, 2008, 12:00am

Marketing gurus like to talk about selling a lifestyle, not just a product. That would explain the elaborate measures booze brand Chivas exerted to position itself as sexy and stylish fun last weekend.

For the Chivas Studio concept - essentially a three-night party from Thursday to Saturday - the whisky maker tried to conjure a 'spirit of exuberant creativity and cosmopolitanism'. In short, it rented out an expensive restaurant (Watermark), hired a well-known photographer (Wing Shya) to shoot a pointless picture story, asked a name designer (Michael Young) to make an artsy-looking 'Fireworks' bar (pictured), and brought in a rapper (Pharoahe Monch) to entertain guests.

There's more! At the venue's entrance an artist spray-painted a wedding dress on a live model.

A group of VIPs and media were also privileged enough to partake in a gastronomic 18-course dinner on Thursday themed on Chivas 18's blend of Scotch. Yep, six appetisers, six mains and six desserts all infused with, or designed to accompany, the whisky. If it all sounds grotesquely indulgent, well, that's what it's supposed to be.

But other than a few creative types cashing in on lucrative and easy commissions, we're not sure if all this will make people drink more Chivas, especially if they have to pay for it.

We say enjoy it while you can because where the economy is headed, we suspect a lot of marketing budgets will dry up like rehab next year.