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Powers Whiskey (Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard)

Powers Whiskey: Short Stories Competition


Powers Whiskey is the 3rd largest spirit brand in Ireland. From a position of strength in the mid 1990s, the Whiskey category has been under threat. For Powers Whiskey specifically, whilst the brand had strong Whiskey credentials and awareness scores, some of the other key brand metrics like consideration had been diminishing. The brand lacked a clearly defined identity that consumers could resonate with. In order to drive consideration consumers needed to see it was a like minded brand.

In a very competitive space, a difficult media challenge lay ahead. We were tasked with re-engaging men and to start the process of getting Powers on their radar.

The Vizeum Insight

    The Powers target audience are ‘grounded’ men; men who relish the simple and more meaningful pleasures in life. They seek out quality moments with their family and friends, a good pint and banter in a pub, going to a match etc. For them, their lifestyles don’t permit a really active social life, so they choose wisely how they spend their time. It’s all about quality and not quantity. We knew that traditional advertising would not be sufficient to engage them; content and stories needed to be created not advertising.

The Strategy

Browsing through the archives of advertising from the 70s and 80s the quality of copy writing became apparent. The old ads were more like short-stories, which captured a moment in time and sat easily with the Powers brand and its traditional, authentic and Irish values.

An idea evolved to devise a campaign, which invited people to write a 450 word short story capturing the essence of what matters most in life today; titled “celebrating what truly matters”. The prize on offer was to win €10,000 and to get their short story published.

Press was used to bring the campaign to life. With press we could explain the premise of the short stories and deliver on the need to highlight the provenance and quality of the Powers brand. More importantly in this instance, “the medium is the message”; what better way to bring a campaign based on writing a short story to life but with the written word.

As mentioned, we needed to move beyond pure advertising to maximise engagement with this property, generating earned media and advocacy. Hence, we formed a partnership with the Irish Times ensuring a level of endorsement not achievable through just bought assets. The strength of this partnership was particularly impressive benefiting both Powers and the Irish Times.


In a very restricted alcohol category we managed to create a new, ownable and reusable communications property for Powers Whiskey

  • Over 3,342 entries were received to the competition. This exceeded expectations considering the level of effort involved in the mechanic.
  • Such was the volume and quantity of the entries it enables us to publish a “Powers Short Stories” book, which we subsequently sold through Eason, SuperValu and online.
  • Sales of the book raised €30k for the Irish Hospice Foundation and was supported by well known Irish authors including Maeve Binchy.

Key Points

Suzanne Lawlor, Powers Whiskey Brand Manager

Overall this campaign has been hugely successful. Such a simple and on brief concept has functioned to reinvigorate the Powers brand whilst captivating our target audience. Vizeum have been a key strategic partner, adding enormous value to this project in terms of both idea generation and execution.