Maker’s Mark is widely acknowledged as the first premium, handmade bourbon. Today, the category it operates in has enjoyed stellar growth, but Maker’s wasn’t getting its fair share. The audience was looking for a bourbon that was made with the care, conviction and dedication they believed were the marks of an individual’s worth. These were the qualities of character they saw in people they admired.


The target wanted “craft bourbon” but didn’t believe a brand as well-known as Maker’s could possibly be made with the same care as a less ubiquitous brand. Doe-Anderson had to convince a disbelieving audience that craft is the true character of Maker’s Mark – and that it was hiding in plain sight.


The agency showed Maker’s Mark is still made as painstakingly as it had been since the very beginning: by real people, in a real place. Maker’s Mark was full of the character they craved.

They selected outdoor placements that spoke to local character and painted the message using brand colors in a fresh new way. They minimized branding so the message spoke first. The act of painting the murals became just as important as the final product, as passers-by paused to watch the artists work.


They used advertising to show the real people, real place and handmade process at work every day at the distillery that give Maker’s Mark its character. TV and video assets helped us tell a deeper story, complemented by print, social and digital elements to reach the audience with bite-sized kernels of what makes the brand so special.


What better time to introduce the world to Margie Samuels – Maker’s Mark co-founder and Bourbon Hall-of-Famer – than on International Woman’s Day. It was a moment in culture that reflected the brand’s values and allowed us to celebrate not only Margie, but also other leading women in the bourbon industry.


Searches for cocktails spike rapidly during the holidays, so rather than provide the standard instructional video, we partnered with Google and a YouTube influencer to help Maker’s reveal the character of a holiday evening with friends at a neighborhood bar. Drinks sliding down the bar and a sing-along of “Auld Lang Syne” might seem old fashioned, but certain traditions never lose their flavor.

A robust digital effort helped the brand get a foot forward with the information-thirsty audience, and the website was completely re-launched to better tell the brand’s key stories. Built with no “dead ends,” the site smoothly moved from product story to recipes that inspired purchase and made it easier for those wanting a firsthand look at the magic to book a tour of the Maker’s Mark Distillery.



By the numbers:

+12,2% YOY volume growth, outpacing the category

+11% YOY mentions brand and “craft” terms online

209% YOY increase in website traffic