Move over Famous Grouse: Pernod Ricard gives life to Irish whiskey Redbreast's robin

Dry-witted animated bird is introduced in campaign by The Public House.

Pernod Ricard Irish whiskey brand Redbreast has unveiled a new animated “brand spokesman”, Robin Redbreast, in a campaign created by Dublin agency The Public House.

The animated character, voiced by Irish comedian Tadhg Hickey, is based on the robin featured on the brand’s logo, and in a series of films for digital, makes droll and gentle observations about the drink – a single pot still whiskey – and its hometown of Midleton, County Cork.

The campaign was created by Jarrod Banadyga, Enda Mac Nally, Barry Taylor and Rudy Godfrey, with animation directed by Neil Stubbings at London production company Jelly.

It is running across several markets globally, including Ireland, the US, UK and Germany, on channels including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Alongside the launch of the campaign, Redbreast has formed a partnership with global bird conservation charity Birdlife International.

Laura Hanratty, head of prestige and speciality whiskeys at Pernod Ricard division Irish Distillers, told Campaign that several other advertising mascots had inspired both the decision to create the character of Robin, and his specifics.

“I looked at a lot of other brands that have used animals to bring their tone of voice to life – and a lot of these, these brands didn't even really have a tangible historical link,” she said.

“So the Geico Gecko, for example, I think was chosen for its alliteration. There’s the Duracell bunny. And I thought that if these brands could create animal icons, without any sort of tangible historical link, then surely we had licence to with our robin redbreast who was ingrained in our history on our bottle, and even in our name.”

She acknowledged there were some stylistic similarities with Mr Swan from Sipsmith Gin, which she said has “done a great job of really taking their product story and bringing it to life” with the character.

Creative director Banadyga, meanwhile, acknowledged a human brand spokesman as creative inspiration: Aviation Gin’s Ryan Reynolds. “What he did is he surprised Aviation fans every couple of weeks with something new, and just was really good at reflecting the cultural landscape and the zeitgeist with some of the reactive content that they did,” Banadyga said.

But he added: "The personality of the bird was inspired, or you could say stolen, from the people in Midleton, who work on Redbreast, day in and day out. You don't have to spend too much time there to kind of soak in the dry humour and see how they're all like family. They're very supportive of each other, but not afraid to take a jab as well.”

The stop-motion feel of the animation was intended to give the films “a little bit of old-school analogue charm,” Banadyga said. “You can almost imagine this Robin being carved by a cooper on his lunch break.”

The background scenes of the films were shot on location at Midleton Distillery and feature cameos from Irish Distillers’ whiskey blenders Billy Leighton and Dave McCabe.