The Premise: Drambuie



art director.

matthew arbon
interactive designer.

garth sykes
illustration & animation.

alex varanese

Drambuie, no stranger to elaborate marketing campaigns, devised an ambitious promotional contest called The Premise to highlight their rebranding efforts in Australia. It sounds simple enough: contestants submit homemade creative briefs describing the concept for their dream "pop-up bar" and a panel of judges picks their favorite. Except the winner gets the opportunity to run an actual, real-life version of their establishment for nine nights. Like, for real.

To represent this concept of freeform architectural brainstorming, I was commissioned by SapientNitro to design a collection of 3D scenes in the style of my Urban Cartography series that would help tell the story. They needed to be detailed enough for print but also work in fully-animated video form for use within the website. I used a series of custom scripts to automate the process of constructing and deconstructing the animated scenes and applying glowing transition effects. Lastly, each scene needed to be rendered as multiple frames of a horizontal camera pan, allowing the website to display the environment from different angles depending on the user's mouse movements.

Drambuie apparently dug my work as well and asked if I'd be interested in joining the panel of judges and doing an interview for the contest's blog. Luckily, they reassured me that I could do the job remotely, which was a huge load off my mind—the last thing I needed was a reason to take an awesome trip to a country full of sunny beaches and laid-back beer drinkers. I can't tell you how many times I've found myself stuck in traffic and thought, "thank god I'm not doing something incredibly fun in Australia right now." Whatever. The experience ended up being a lot of fun anyway, even here in boring ol' America.

My first task was creating four Drambuie-themed scenes. Despite the compressed timeline, I created everything with just enough detail to survive at 17x12" / 300dpi, ensuring their usability in both video and print.

bar exterior


bar interior




18th century scottish pub


The site, designed by SapientNitro, incorpoarted the animations seamlessly from the loading sequence to the pages themselves:

website: landing page

website: entries gallery

website: the competition

website: the judges

website: drink recipes

Street promotion in Australia put the print pieces to use:

street poster

Judging was held at SapientNitro and recorded for use in promotional videos. Sadly, I was stuck in dumb ol' America and had to submit my votes via absentee ballot (or email, as it was also known):

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