2021 Brand Experience & Activation


Category D02. Use of Mobile & Devices
Idea Creation DARE London, UNITED KINGDOM
Name Company Position
Rod Sobral Dare Digital Limited Global Chief Creative Officer
Rob Kavanagh Dare Digital Limited Executive Creative Director
Arnaldo Boico Dare Digital Limited Creative Director
Michelle Charlton Dare Digital Limited Head of Design
Charlie Phipps Dare Digital Limited Design
Henry Cruickshank Dare Digital Limited Design
Jack Payne Dare Digital Limited Experience & Strategy
Aarti Dodhia Dare Digital Limited Experience & Strategy
Clara Carbajo Dare Digital Limited Experience & Strategy
Jessica Dacchille Dare Digital Limited Account Director
Tom Linford-Grayson Dare Digital Limited Account Director
Rebecca Owen Dare Digital Limited Operations Director
Tim Slater Dare Digital Limited Project Director
Dimitri Yiannakis Dare Digital Limited Project Director
Chris Nevin Dare Digital Limited Project Manager
Anthony Hall Dare Digital Limited Technology Director
Enrico Penzo Dare Digital Limited Development – Deep Learning (Amazon API) and Three.JS
Danny Brandy Dare Digital Limited Development – Website
Noopur Joshi Paul Cowtan Dare Digital Limited Development – Website
Paul Cowtan Dare Digital Limited Development – Website
Jourdain Coleman Prakash Mourya Dare Digital Limited Quality Assurance
Prakash Mourya Dare Digital Limited Quality Assurance

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

A key part of the alcohol gifting experience is the personal touch that comes from handing someone a bottle of their favourite. During the pandemic, Birthdays, Father’s days, and other celebrations continued – but without the important people present. The moments lacked emotion and became just another date in the calendar. Diageo created Message in a Bottle to allow people to send their loved ones a bottle of their favourite spirits, with a personal message – and a personalised brand experience. A virtual gift tag that activated the brand into life and brought people together – no matter the distance.


With the pandemic curtailing key celebration moments for friends and families in real life, the accompanying gift exchanges of bottles of spirits had moved online too. DIAGEO wanted to bring the emotion back to this digital gifting experience – and generate a competitive eCommerce advantage through an inspiring use of technology. 

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Our approach started with the thought: “Imagine if you could deliver a personalised message, with its own, unique, meaningful work of art”. We conducted extensive research into personalisation, generative art, dynamic videos, and customisation. And boiled everything down to the fact, there’s nothing more personal than a spoken message. To accompany the audio, we needed art. It needed to be visually arresting, dynamic, and most importantly, as personal as the message itself – despite the necessary technical automation. To do this, we developed a host of dynamic assets to create a video synced with the audio. These employed the ultimate aid to personalisation, Amazon’s AWS API, that detects meaningful keywords within the user’s audio message. These keywords are then animated in real-time to generate a one-of-a-kind, personalised kinetic typography animation. The artwork is synchronised with the audio message and can be shared time

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

With social distancing restrictions, 2021 presented many challenges. In these circumstances, DIAGEO wanted to add value to its online sales channel, MALTS.COM. They were looking for a digital tool that would satisfy people’s need to connect across distance – something personal and memorable.   The answer was Message in a Bottle. By giving customers the chance to add a personalised audio message to each purchase, we created a tool that could evoke a strong emotional link. After all, what means more than words of affection between two distant people?   We’ve created a convenient flow inside the e-commerce experience, and a user-friendly system to generate personalised tags inside the warehouses of MALTS. This solution was almost completely autonomous, creating art from user-generated content.   We timed the launch for Father's Day. We built a campaign within the site and through social media, generating awareness for the new product and driving new purchases.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

Technically, the experience uses speech to text and natural language processing algorithms to detect meaningful keywords within the user’s audio messages. The keywords are then animated in real-time to generate one of a kind kinetic typography animations personalised for the message receiver. The final result is an animated generative art piece synchronized with the user audio message that can be enjoyed and shared creating a fun and memorable experience for both the giver and receiver. Regarding the art direction, the visual style of DIAGEO is not accessible to the public, as DIAGEO is the umbrella brand of the bottles. That said, the visuals of the messages has used the language from the selected bottles, reinforcing the individual branding styles and connecting the purchased product with the digital art.

List the results (30% of vote)

Our project saw unprecedented levels of engagement, with an increment of +60% on sales for the participating brands. Also, 4 brands in the top 10 sellers on MALTS.COM were part of Message in a Bottle. Our virtual gift tag also outperformed the other personalisation tools (like engraving) on the website by 40%. “Message in a Bottle has been a really transformative activation for us, especially during a time of rapidly shifting consumer behaviour due to COVID. We were not only able to create a more personal and exciting gifting experience for consumers but create a real competitive advantage for our brands during a key occasion” Benjamin Lickfett, Global Head of Digital Innovation at DIAGEO Following the success of our Father’s Day, Message in a Bottle will be rolled out in more than 20 languages, and more brands are currently lining up to be part of the project.