Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky is credited as being the first company to use an Ad Film for its promotional activities. The advertisement is commonly referred to as the “It’s Scotch” ad for Dewar’s Scotch Whisky which was shot in 1897. It’s an iconic ad, ushering an unprecedented age in the history of advertisement. It is difficult to talk about famous brand stories without looking at liquor brands and their storied past. Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky, especially with it’s “Dewar’s White Label Scotch Whisky” is a stalwart of liquor brands and deserves a special mention for its pioneering work.
Let’s take a look at this ad and what makes it iconic.
DEWAR’S BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY: WORLD’S FIRST AD FILM – IMPORTANCE
As we move forward into the future, with access to higher internet speeds, our predominant medium of consuming content on the internet is becoming videos and motion pictures. During, the initial days internet was predominantly a text-based medium slowly evolving into a graphic and still image-based medium to what it is today, in the transition phase between still images and video medium. The advertisements also followed a similar trajectory from text-based to posters and pinups to motion pictures and ad films. In such a scenario, the Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky ad film was a breakout concept for its time. It set the precedence for the entire advertisement industry to move from posters and still images towards ad films and motion pictures.
DEWAR’S BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY: WORLD’S FIRST AD FILM – WHAT IT SHOWED?
The 30 odd second long rudimentary motion picture is as timeless as it gets, introducing the iconic phrase – “Dewar’s – It’s Scotch“. The advertisement portrays “giddy menfolk” in the traditional Scottish Kilts, dancing around jubilantly to folk songs in front of a sign that says “Scotch Whisky“. The ad film is quite reminiscent of a group of friends having a good time after enjoying a few tipples of their favourite spirit.
The motion picture is very contemporary in its approach as it sells an emotion connected to the product instead of the product itself. All of us can relate to those men drunkenly dancing and having a good time (even miss them a little in this COVID era)
This is the world’s first video advertisement and it’s for Scotch Whisky, Namely Dewar’s. Let that sink in.
Hear what the Global Brand Ambassador of Dewar’s, Fraser Campbell has to say about one of the most famous brand stories amongst liquor brands :
During the 1890’s, Dewar’s had witnessed an unprecedented expansion of their business globally. Tommy Dewar, son of founder John Dewar, was at the forefront of this. Tommy was a marketing genius, bon viveur and witty businessman who saw an oppurtunity to draw attention to the family business wherever he went. Dewar’s had began advertising frequently, capitalising heavily on a campaign called ‘The Whisky of his Forefathers’, which saw the three kilted men jumping out from their respective paintings to steal a bottle of Dewar’s from a gentlemen bearing a striking resemblance to our Mr Tommy Dewar.
Whilst in New York in 1898, Tommy commissioned The Edison Company to create a moving picture to advertise Dewar’s, using the Whisky of his Forefathers as the central idea. This advert was then projected on the roof of the Pepper Building in Herald Sqaure in New York, for all to see. This film has come to be known as the first ever filmed advertisement ever created for a brand.
DEWAR’S BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY: WORLD’S FIRST AD FILM -HOW WAS IT SHOT AND SHOWN?
The ad film was produced in 1897 by International Film Company, Charles Webster and Edmund Kuhn. However, the ad film was released by the Edison Manufacturing Company in 1898. The ad film is currently preserved in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Edison was partly responsible for this ad film as he was looking for additional ways to exploit and utilise his new invention.
The idea for the film was through the inspiration of a Dewar’s Blended Scotch whisky distributor on seeing prolific lines of “giddy menfolk” waiting outside Kitenoscopic Parlors. The distributor realised why not run a peep show to advertise the Dewar’s blended scotch whisky. The film was projected in New York’s Herald Square from the roof of the Pepper Building. It was also projected in the Garment District on the back of a Broadway building.
All great things start with a little bit of whisky, even ad films. The ad film they managed to create is so contemporary that watching it even today made us crave a dram of the iconic Dewar’s White Label Scotch Whisky. HERE is where you can find more information including Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky Price, where to find Dewar’s White Label Scotch Whisky, amongst others.
Keep looking out at TheCocktailStory as we cover famous brand stories in the coming weeks, with a special focus on liquor brands.