Young & Laramore Announces New Campaign for Artisan Distillery, Hotel Tango

Artisan distillery, Hotel Tango, and its AOR, Indianapolis-based independent agency, Young & Laramore, have announced the launch of a new campaign, which aims to introduce a second coming of the brand and increase its awareness.

Hotel Tango spirits are crafted in line with the standards and ideals that its founder, Travis Barnes, learned in his time as a decorated Marine veteran.

The agency approached this project by talking to its current consumers, discovering two key insights: they understood the military connection, but didn’t see how that translated into better-quality spirits; and they used spirits on their shelf as a story to share with others.

With these insights, the agency realized they didn’t need to replace anything on consumers’ shelves, but instead needed to get into the rotation and add to their collection of stories while providing a great, quality spirit.

To address the first insight, Y&L focused on making Travis’ military background a reason to believe in the quality of the spirits, instead of just an interesting, but peripheral, fact behind the brand. 

The key to addressing this was shifting the way Hotel Tango talks about the military. It’s not Travis’ status as a veteran that makes Hotel Tango spirits good—it’s the way he makes the spirits, using the rigor, standards and mentality he gained from serving in the Marines.

They landed on the idea of an MRE (“Meal, Ready-to-Eat,” the standard military term for rations) being adapted for spirits, which allowed for faithfulness to the idea of a military-borne spirit, while at the same time giving plenty of flexibility to be playful inside the same arena.

The campaign will include outdoor billboards, an iconic fountain square billboard, digital banners, paid social and streaming audio throughout Indiana, as well as digital banners and paid social throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Texas.

“Knowing that becoming a nationally recognized brand and Indiana’s distillery would take a significant investment and an in-depth understanding of our target consumer, we turned to Young & Laramore (Y&L).  From the start, our goal was to feel uncomfortable,” said Travis Barnes, founder and CEO at Hotel Tango Distillery. “Through discomfort comes change, and we knew it was time for Hotel Tango to change and evolve into the brand we want to become.”

“The subtle touches in the new branding and insights from my background really gave us a newfound sense of pride in this brand,” said Barnes. “It is a coming-of-age moment, and we know it is going to revolutionize how people view, interact and share Hotel Tango.”

“It was vital for us to retain the playful but gritty ethos that made Hotel Tango the beloved distillery it is,” said Alex Neff, VP of Marketing and Experience at Hotel Tango. “And that is what makes this rebrand so effective; it blends the qualities that make the brand distinct but with elevated design that crystallizes the connection between our military roots and high-quality spirits.”

“Hotel Tango quickly captured the attention of consumers,” said Tom Denari, President and Chief Strategy Officer at Young & Laramore. “The foundation of that connection comes from Travis — his story, his moral code and the lessons he gleaned during his time as a Recon. Marine. That is where the basis for this rebrand was born.”

“We wanted to set our sights on a bold shift in design and messaging to bring this brand into a new age,” said Bryan Judkins, Principal and Group Creative Director at Young & Laramore. “The packaging is inspired by military MRE rations, with a no-nonsense approach to labeling things that still lets us have fun with verbiage.”

Source: Young & Laramore

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