Insights Plus Partnership: Making a Mark with The Macallan

As we sat across the breakfast table from Paul Boutros, the Head of Watches at Phillips auction house, he was nodding and looked pleased. We had just taken him through our proposal for a collaboration between Gear Patrol and Phillips to launch our ninth edition of Gear Patrol Magazine: The Collecting Issue. He immediately recognized an opportunity for Phillips to build value through this idea and replied, “Well, what if we held an exclusive NYC preview for Gear Patrol readers of the watches being featured in our upcoming Geneva auction?”

Wow. Not only did he like our idea, but he took it and made it his own. We immediately agreed and the planning began. Luckily, the team at Gear Patrol was already working on a series of reader activations under the banner of Gear Patrol: In the Field. It was clear that this gathering between Phillips and Gear Patrol would make for a great inaugural event, but what could we do to make it an evening our readers would never forget?

Issue Nine came out even better than expected and party planning was in full swing. We arranged for a Gear Patrol photographer to be on-site to snap wrist-shots, which would be instantly shared with each guest. But we still needed that extra bit of x-factor to tie it all together. Right on cue, our East Coast Sales Director Jason Davis proclaimed, “You know what pairs well with rare watches? How about rare whiskey? I know the NY Marketing Manager at Edrington.”

One reader flips through a copy of the Gear Patrol Magazine.
Gear Patrol's night of whisky and watches at the Phillips Auction House.
Attendees admire watches going up for auction.

Edrington makes some of the world’s best-loved Scotch whiskies, including The Macallan, a luxury single malt whiskey with a legacy of excellence. Headquartered in Scotland, the company and its brands are dedicated to creating premium spirits in socially responsible ways, which results in truly memorable products. Bringing in Edrington would mean breaking new business for Gear Patrol, which would be difficult considering the time constraints we were under. We were just weeks away from the event.

The Gear Patrol team rallied. We learned that Edrington and specifically, The Macallan, were seeking an audience with a certain degree of disposable income, a curiosity around the finer things and an interest in tradition and craft. Leveraging Quantcast, the world’s largest machine learning audience behavior platform, we set out to build a data story to bring our readers to life for The Macallan. Q for Publishers, Quantcast’s product suite for publishers, gives the team here at Gear Patrol the ability to quickly and easily paint the picture of our audience, through both demographic and psychographic lenses. For us, Quantcast is essentially our insight engine.

Using Q for Publishers, we looked at our readers with high levels of discretionary spending, in combination with an affinity for luxury watch purchasing and an interest in spirits. We also learned that New York City had the greatest concentration of readers that fell within that demographic. It was this degree of data and demographic insight that tipped the scales. Edrington signed on and that following week we brought together a bevy of guests from throughout the tri-state area for an evening of rare watches and rare whiskey.

A selection of watch photos from Gear Patrol's pop-up photo booth.
The Macllan pouring samples of its Scotch at the Phillips Auction House.
A selection of the watches going up for auction.

The Edrington team generously brought in some of The Macallan’s deepest cuts, including their Rare Cask and Reflexion, part of their stunning Decanter Series. Commenting on the event, The Macallan’s Marketing Manager Tom Mauriello said, “Here at The Macallan we practice what we preach. We always go out of our way to do things the right way, even if that approach is unconventional to industry standards. Gear Patrol follows the same ethos, and puts together nothing short of the best quality in every one of their productions. The partnership for the sneak peek of the Phillips watch auction was a seamless collaboration to showcase the passion that The Macallan and Gear Patrol have for luxury items. It was an honor to be associated with these beautiful brands as well as the loyal team and subscribers of Gear Patrol.”

In the days following the event, the Edrington team saw a correlation between sales of The Macallan and key areas that matched our geo-targeted invitation list. In their estimation, this correlation could only be attributed to results from our In the Field reader activation with Phillips.

Thanks to the unique insights uncovered with Quantcast, plus the right kind of partnership between publisher, venue and brand, we were able to create an absolutely unforgettable evening. We made a lasting mark on our readers that will stay with them for the foreseeable future. By all accounts we gave them a fresh perspective on Gear Patrol and the luxury watch world, and in many of the attendees’ cases, their first taste of ultra rare whiskey.

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