A fortnight ago, an Instagram account appeared that asked the question “Wonder What If”. Now, while this might not have been of any great importance in the general scheme of things, it was the authors of this account that made the appearance interesting.
Matthew McConaughey and Eddie Russell, the creative director and head distillery for Wild Turkey have tapped into the power of wonderment and curiosity of their Longbranch Whiskey brand to unveil part of the first-ever global creative campaign.
Capturing that offbeat sensibility for which that McConaughey is known, the Instagram account was soon joined by a YouTube channel. There you can find a series of self-directed video spots featuring McConaughey sitting in a field with nothing but Longbranch in his hand and a mind free to wander and ponder life’s great questions.
“The question ‘what if?’ can be a powerful one, beckoning us to dig deep and challenge ourselves,” said McConaughey.
“A few years ago, we asked ourselves what if we put a Texas spin on Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and that curiosity led to the birth of Longbranch, my co-creation with Master Distiller Eddie Russell.
Our curiosities guide us through life and allow us to turn our ‘what ifs’ into ‘that’s it,’ and we’re hoping this bourbon and our new campaign inspires others to do just that.”
Both optimistic and clever, the theme is a true testament to the authenticity of this campaign and aims to inspire, challenge conventional thinking, and ignite exploration. He invites viewers to join him on the journey, contending that the curious spirit may not always produce a straight path, but will bring you on a worthwhile journey to an interesting destination.
McConaughey’s innately curious spirit was the impetus for creating Longbranch Bourbon, an 8-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon made in small batches – refined with Texas Mesquite, American Oak charcoals, subtle hints of smoky sweetness and flavours of caramel, pear, and hints of citrus.
“Wonder What If” highlights the rich story-telling that McConaughey has brought to the brand as Creative Director, creating a campaign that is equal parts culturally curious and artistic. Taking inspiration from the creation story of Longbranch, the campaign brings to life the quest of discovery and embracing unfamiliar experiences in the pursuit of discovering something new.
“Matthew and Eddie are a formidable pair – one an expert on branding, creativity and culture and the other a maestro of bourbon distilling with decades of experience crafting some of the world’s finest whiskey,” said Julka Villa, Global Managing Director of the Campari Group.
“Together, they reimagined traditional Kentucky bourbon with a Texas twist to bring Longbranch to life – what Matthew calls his favourite bourbon on the planet,” she added. “This campaign, like Longbranch, is grounded in its roots and dares us to discover what happens when we move beyond curiosity, into action.”
The campaign production required flexibility and creativity to surmount challenges brought on by today’s current climate. Developed through a series of virtual brainstorm sessions, Wonder What If inspired McConaughey and the creative team to rethink art direction and content capture.
Shot with minimal equipment in a remote location, McConaughey directed the campaign video himself and worked virtually with AKQA on the editing process. The challenge to do more with less only proved to unleash the team’s ingenuity, and in authentic Longbranch fashion, sparked even more passion and imagination.
The campaign will run on digital and social media channels in the United States and in select global markets. Longbranch’s Instagram handle (@Longbranchbourbon), which will feature cocktail recipes, a Longbranch dictionary, and animated videos unbottling the full creative concept.