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The Kentucky Derby has been dubbed “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” but the fanfare and festival go well beyond the horse race itself. Woodford Reserve is the official bourbon of this event, which makes the Kentucky Derby the biggest holiday season for this top-shelf bourbon brand. As the market leader for super-premium bourbon, we needed to create an experience that positioned Woodford Reserve as the highly acclaimed, award-winning bourbon that they are. This beloved bourbon with exceptional richness that is savord by consumers worldwide needed to be elevated in a big way.
To elevate Woodford Reserve’s sponsorship as the “official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby” we designed limited-edition sterling silver and 24K gold mint julep cups featuring iconic Derby elements. The bespoke cups were distributed at an exclusive $1,000 Mint Julep experience, crafted around the classic Derby cocktail. All proceeds went to equine-related charities.
Building on the insight that for Derby-goers this fashionable cultural event is rooted in time-honored tradition, we paid tribute to the British origins of the Derby, which was inspired by England’s historic horse race, the Epsom Darby.
Around this time, English photographer Eadweard Muybridge was conducting his groundbreaking “Horse in Motion” photo experiments, which became the inspiration for our design. Cup details included a rose for the “Run for Roses”, a crown for British royalty and a horseshoe for good luck. A gold stir stick shaped like a Woodford bottle and a silk purse added finishing touches.
The 2017 $1,000 Mint Julep experience generated record-high earned coverage and impressions for Woodford Reserve.
- 412 million media impressions, - 663 pieces of earned coverage and - 426 broadcast appearances in over 12 states. Coverage from national broadcast stations included CNN, the TODAY Show, Fox & Friends and NBC.
With the help from the brand’s largest sponsorship activation , Woodford Reserve closed out the year with yet another year of double-digit growth.