VF! and Diageo’s World Class Reserve introduced a shopping experience with a twist

What seemed revolutionary in 2015 is now even more valid today than when VF! created World Class’s concept store. With products and services at people’s fingertips and only a swipe away, truly engaging with customers and providing an experience has become more important than ever. What launched as a concept at a global event in Cape Town, rolled-out into a real life, everyday store-in-store experience.

Who and what is World Class?

World Class is an initiative of Diageo, a multinational alcoholic beverages company, that was launched in 2009. It is a revolutionary global competition to find and crown the best bartender in the world.

The competition runs in over 60 countries and has supported, educated and inspired over 250 000 bartenders through its training and advocacy program, while concurrently marketing Diageo’s reserve brands.

It’s been changing cocktail culture and the idea of fine drinking since inception. World Class focuses on Diageo’s reserve brands, all of which are steeped in heritage, craftsmanship and authenticity. Each brand has its own unique story, innovative production and inspiring design, promoting a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The Cape Town event

In 2015 the competition concluded in South Africa and was celebrated by special events held in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The Cape Town leg of the event extended over a week, during which pop-up venues were created and themed to represent each of the premium spirits in the World Class Reserve collection. Newcomers to the brands and connoisseurs alike could explore World Class by experiencing each brand in an exclusive and educational way.

What did we do?

VF! helped Diageo and their World Class team to create an experience bringing together all their reserve brands into one space, that would not only amplify the collection, but also honour the personality of each of the spirits.

By creating a carefully curated space, the World Class store-in-store concept shifted the way in which spirits are marketed. It moved away from mainstream brand and category in-store marketing and introduced an experience. It made premium spirits accessible to everyone, promoted a culture of “drinking better” with friends, and highlighted the notion of making home a destination.

Stepping into the World Class store, customers were inspired by the way the display made them feel and saw themselves as being world class drinks masters – learning from the best and using the best spirits in the world. It made patrons realise that premium brands are not exclusive to a privileged few, but available for everyone to enjoy.

The display showed customers how to make world class drinks easily, promoting the brands, cocktail mixers and ingredients. Multimedia and printed displays also inspired people to have fun while making their own cocktails.

The process we followed

The World Class store was a perfect example of the VF! process. We received a brief; we used the brand’s global assets; we interpreted it for the local market; we conceptualised a solution considering what World Class needed to achieve; and our industrial designers and engineers prototyped a working concept store that was fully installed during the global competition. Following the event, a store-in-store retail space was built in Cape Town.

This fully functional retail environment invites everyone who enters the mainstream liquor outlet to be inspired, explore and linger a little bit longer. The display is brightly lit, filled with colour, texture and the aroma of fresh ingredients. Spirits, mixers and glassware are all in one place, with the space being activated by short “how-to” videos from the best bartenders in the world.

Throughout the process, all aspects and details were considered to deliver an alternative and innovative shopper experience presenting world class design, materials and installation.

Read more
VF! World Class case study
World Class club
The 2015 Cape Town event 
A guide to spontaneous celebration

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