Kyrö Brutally Finnish

Full-frontal, butt-naked, bears and ballet

Kyrö Distillery Finland makes exceptional rye-based whisky, gin and other spirits. They are passionately supported by the local Finns but felt ready to expand their reach. For the 2020 global launch, Kyrö teamed up with us to create their first international brand campaign. We acted as their creative agency and production studio for all of the assets, and as their media agency to roll-out the campaign.

At the heart of the campaign is the brand manifesto film. In it, we portray the brand as authentic risk-takers for the 2.5 minute film that’s largely a one-shot. Mikko Koskinen, one of the five co-founders, also plays himself in a leading role. No other parts were cast with actors – all the roles were played by the distillery’s founders and employees – yes, even the part with the bear. There are many other Easter eggs in the film, such as the Finnish group of farmers that have their own local ballet group and perform at the Kyrö Festival each summer.

Based on a true story

Most brands create a craftsman heritage myth and cast it. We didn’t need to do that with Kyrö, because they’re already living their story. “Our company was founded by five friends in a sauna in Finland with a dream to create the best whisky, gin and other spirits from Finnish rye, and that story is deeply embedded in our brand, and our products,” says Mikko Koskinen. They already had a great story, so all we had to do was tell it across the manifesto and shorter product films.

Brutally Finnish

The spirits landscape is highly competitive and saturated, and this isn’t a Diageo or Pernod Ricard with household name recognition or deep pockets. We needed Kyrö to stand out from all the noise, so we took a highly provocative, brutally honest positioning – based on the authenticity of their brand story and harsh Finnish landscape. This approach capitalized on the brand’s Finnish nature of extremes, with the aim of getting noticed.

watch the Kyrö Gin product film

Modern and flexible

In addition to the strategy, creation and full production of the films and OOH for Kyrö, we took the lead in media planning and placement in Germany. This especially helped us to react quickly during the COVID-19 lockdown, making last minute changes to our media plan and creating additional appropriate content for that period. Kalskarikännit translates from Finnish to “drinking alone at home in your underpants.” We created an interim digital brand awareness campaign using the hashtag #pantsdrunktogether. It shared an inspiring message of solidarity between Kyrö and international audiences.

Just after launch, the New York Times featured Kyrö, and many more key media outlets followed suit. The brand was awarded 98 out of 100 points and a “gold outstanding” for its whisky by the prestigious IWSC award, and traffic to their new site increased four-fold. Through increased awareness via OOH placements, many of their target bars and retail now carry the products Germany-wide.