We were asked by Courvoisier and Focus PR to bring to life the ‘Courvoisier Institute of Grand Cocktails’ – a series of immersive theatre experiences set in The Heritage Rooms in London’s Victoria House, with three rooms hosted by London’s top mixologists. We were tasked with not only bringing to life the ‘Institute’ and teaching attendees the art of making cocktails with Cognac, but also driving interest and interaction with consumers two weeks prior to the event with a narrative based around Courvoisier’s social media channels.
Our vision for the Courvoisier Institute of Grand Cocktails was a ‘Secret Society’ of cocktail makers who exist outside of time as we know it. Led by their ‘Eternal CEO’, Maximillian Borche, the doors to the Institute open every 100 years so that the inhabitants may pass on their teachings to a new generation of cognac lovers. The piece was set amongst three key environments: a trading area, where guests mingle with east-end market traders, Moroccan spice sellers, and Courvoisier connoisseurs, a Rococco style ballroom party which never ends, hosted by the convivial (and quite obviously insane) Sir Arthur Kane and his long-suffering butler. As Sir Arthur rants, raves and riddles around his puzzled guests, dusty ballroom dancers whirl around him. Lastly, the ‘Sazerac Room’, where scientists strive to perfect the experience of drinking a Sazerac, and have been driven mad by their efforts. ‘Doc’ and his Lab assistant poked, prodded and tickled blindfolded guests to discover their ‘Sazerac Point’. Whether or not the New Orleans Jazz trio in the corner were a corporealised figment of the Scientists’ imagination or not is up for debate. The event culminated in an encounter with one of two characters – either Maximillian Borche himself, or his second in command (and some say the true brains behind the Institute), Mr. Masters. Both have their guests swear allegiance to the Institute before closing the doors for another 100 years.
To add depth and anticipation to our narrative, Maximillian Borche was brought to life online to interact with guests and press. For a separate case study on social activity, please visit Reuben Feels’ Storify Page.Through conversations with guests who had found him, Max revealed the Institute’s Charter when sourcing new recruits – 5 qualities of a superb cognac cocktail personified. This Charter took the form of an old-gramophone recording featuring Max’s ‘Great-great Grandfather’, uploaded to Soundcloud, which directed intrigued guests to both the official Courvoisier website and our Facebook event page.