As stores pack away their Valentine’s Day cards for another year and underwear and chocolate retailers enter a very quiet sales week, its worth taking a look back at a campaign that chose to side step the more obvious hearts and flowers trappings of February the 14th.
Hendricks, The William Grant & Sons, gin brand opted to set up its 'Refined Courtship Clinic' for a second year running in London’s Covent Garden, a pop-up campaign offering up etiquette tips for romantics from the bygone Victorian Era.
Two actors playing the parts of Dr Humphrey Sixwivs and Mrs Isabella Forlornicate hosted the sessions. The duo offered up advice from polite body language to acceptable topics of conversation over a Hendrick's Gin & tonic as they highlighted the ‘economical’ values of decorum and good grace – as opposed to splashing out on temporary signifiers of affection .
"It is often said that good manners cost nothing, but little is mentioned about their ability to impress. Basic etiquette and a decent understanding of how to act in the company of others can go a long way to receiving the approval of an admired one,” said Hendrick's Global Ambassador, Xavier Padovani.
In addition to the Covent Garden pop-up the Courtship Clinic was also staged on the first floor of Selfridges at the Gordon’s bar, directly tapping into the busy Valentine’s shopping frenzy.
The whole campaign builds on a long running series of events the brand has masterminded under the guise of Victorian quirkiness, which aims to turn the humble sampling promotion into an experience rooted within a strong Steampunk narrative.
The brand had previously taken its ‘Hendricks Horseless Carriage of Curiosities– a traveling 1890s railway carriage bullet packed with Victorian oddities – and a handful of quirky actors to a number of niche UK music festivals (such as Bestival and Secret Garden Party). The concept behind the promotion focused on turning the basic bar and sampling mechanic into a ‘destination’ brand experience which enabled participants to engage, and play an active role, in an immersive theatrical experience.