The Sherry Council of America – no, I didn’t know there was one either - has launched an interesting marketing concept designed to reengage consumers and retailers with the somewhat maligned beverage and highlight its renewed popularity in the US.
No longer is Sherry the hidden under the kitchen sink, quick tipple of over-worked mothers - now it’s the decedent drink of Victorian-styled connoisseurs shrouded in mystery and intrigue within their own invite only Secret Society.
The whole concept is entirely tongue in cheek, from the opening gambit of the website requiring a password (which comes with a‘password hint’ that tells you the code is indeed ‘password’), to being virtually blindfolded, right up to the ultimate death knell for any secret society - having a Facebook page.
The accompanying website, which comes across as part Masonic lodge, part Steampunk institution, offers up a series of ‘not so secret messages’ and subliminal marketing, including coded ads (once again with the answers prominently on the poster).
The Secret Society also holds numerous sampling events across the US, whereby those attending are required to wear masks to conceal their identities.
The campaign and its faux illusion of secrecy is utilised to good effect and transposes well from the digital space to the live arena, helping to give the drink an illicit and underground allure. This is a concept already being utilised by other alcohol brands, such as FourRoses Bourbon, which has been holding Speakeasy music events, trading off an association with the decedent and somewhat dangerous era of prohibition.