Bacardi-owned gin brand Bombay Sapphire tapped science communicator and TV personality Bill Nye to market the launch of its first ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail line, Bombay Sapphire & Tonic, per an announcement shared with Marketing Dive. The collaboration consists of a three-part video series in which Nye humorously explains the science behind the popular gin and tonic combo.
Bombay Sapphire released the full video series through Nye’s Instagram feed, with the first installment appearing on National Gin and Tonic Day on April 9 and the following two posted on a weekly basis thereafter. In typical Nye fashion, the short videos are educational at heart but comedic in tone, and feature many of the same production elements of Nye’s classic ’90s children’s program, “Bill Nye The Science Guy.”
The video series sees Bombay Sapphire channeling the science-based values of millennial consumers. In this respect, the brand joins several others across multiple industries in hoping to reach an audience more interested in facts than fiction.
By framing its promotional video series in a scientific context, Bombay Sapphire is making an appeal to the values of millennial consumers, who comprise a demographic that is particularly interested in RTD cocktails. At the same time, tapping Nye could help the brand reach these consumers where they are spending much of their time — on social media — with the informative and entertaining content they prefer.
Over the course of the pandemic, many health issues have become politicized. Millennials in search of science-based content to help them understand the health crisis have frequented Nye’s social media channels, where he has been posting funny and informative videos and boasts 3 million followers, per information shared by Bombay Sapphire.
Millennials have largely advocated for science during the pandemic, with 74% of the cohort saying they were extremely or very concerned about COVID-19, according to an April 2020 survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. In the same study, 75% agreed with social distancing guidelines, 68% were washing their hands more often and 57% said they would change future social behaviors.
While perceived expertise has long been a valuable marketing activation, the pandemic has created an especially unique window for brands to collaborate with science experts.
“Science is sexy as talk of Dr. Fauci, vaccines and variants pepper dinner conversations,” per a representative for Bombay Sapphire in an email to Marketing Dive.
By tapping Nye in particular, Bombay Sapphire is the latest brand to target millennials through an appeal to ’90s-era nostalgia, a trend that was heating up well before the pandemic. From 1993 to 1994 and again from 1995 to 1998, “Bill Nye the Science Guy” aired as an educational children’s science program for the millennial generation. The show’s quirky production and comedic style offer the same pathos as Bombay Sapphire’s video series, as well as recent efforts by Porsche and Chipotle created in partnership with Nye.
Bombay Sapphire’s tie-up with Nye comes as the global RTD cocktail market is growing at a compound annual rate of 12.1% and is expected to total $1.63 billion by 2027, according to a recent report from Grand View Research.