Academy Award winner tapped to direct story of the iconic bourbon brand
LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (August 1, 2016) – Wild Turkey today announced a multi-year partnership with Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, who has signed on as the brand’s new Creative Director. McConaughey will serve as the chief storyteller for Wild Turkey both behind the camera and in front of it, reintroducing the world to the legendary Bourbon brand, starting with a series of television and digital advertising campaigns he is directing, which will launch in September. A short film documenting Matthew’s journey with Wild Turkey’s distilling family, the Russells, was unveiled today on YouTube.com.
A Wild Turkey fan, McConaughey first visited the distillery a couple of years ago, which is only about a 20-minute drive from the University of Kentucky, the place where his parents first met. It was there at the distillery, high above the Kentucky River, that he was introduced to Jimmy and Eddie Russell, the Bourbon Hall of Fame father and son Master Distiller team who have worked at the Wild Turkey Distillery for 97 years collectively. The actor, whose intense and passionate portrayals can be seen in such work as “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Interstellar,” “True Detective,” and the recent “Free State of Jones,” was intrigued by the three-generation family behind the bourbon and the untold story the iconic American brand.
“Wild Turkey has the history and qualities of a brand that depicts the dedication of someone to do something their own way – even if that way isn’t always the most popular,” said McConaughey. “I want to help share their unique story, starting with a new ad campaign that I feel really captures the special essence of this brand while introducing itself like never before.”
McConaughey will first be seen today on the Wild Turkey YouTube channel in the short film which chronicles a visit to the Wild Turkey Distillery, as he bonds with three generations of Russells and explores what has made Wild Turkey a legend in the Bourbon business. That will be followed by McConaughey demonstrating his creative vision in a series of advertising spots, directing and starring in a global campaign slated to begin running in September. He will also be featured in a print campaign.
Wild Turkey’s new television advertising campaign will see McConaughey serving as a commercial creative director and behind-the-camera director for the first time in his illustrious career.
“When making a movie, you have two hours to tell a story,” remarked McConaughey. “Here I have 30 seconds to reintroduce the world to this authentic American brand that has helped shape an entire U.S. industry, bourbon. It will be a very interesting and fun challenge.”
“I’ve spent more than 60 years doing what I love every single day. Everyone at Wild Turkey is passionate about making whiskey, and making it the right way, never wavering from what we thought was best,” said Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell. “As we introduce a new generation to Wild Turkey, it was important to me to find someone who shares our passion and understands what makes Wild Turkey special. After spending time with Matthew at the distillery, I was impressed by how much he knew about Wild Turkey and how interested he was in telling the world more about us. It is incredible to think that an Oscar winner would want to help tell Wild Turkey’s story, but like an extra scoop of ice cream on pecan pie, I will certainly take it.”
“It’s a new era for Wild Turkey,” added Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO at Gruppo Campari, owner of Wild Turkey, “We’ve made a significant investment into the brand over the last several years, as we’ve always strongly believed in the quality of the product and the special story behind the people who make it. With Matthew McConaughey now on board, we believe we are ready to share that story with the entire world.”
About Matthew McConaughey
Texas native Matthew McConaughey is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading men. A chance meeting in Austin with casting director and producer Don Phillips led him to director Richard Linklater, who launched the actor’s career in the cult classic “Dazed and Confused.” Since then, he has appeared in over 40 feature films that have grossed over $1 billion; and has become a producer, director, and philanthropist – all the while sticking to his Texas roots and “jk livin” philosophy.
2014 was a game-changing year for McConaughey. For his riveting portrayal of Ron Woodruff in “Dallas Buyers Club,” McConaughey received an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and Gotham Award for Best Actor, the Best Actor Award at the Rome Film Festival as well as the Desert Palm Achievement Actor Award at the Palm Springs Film Festival. He also made the move to TV starring alongside Woody Harrelson in the HBO dramatic series “True Detective.” The show was met by rave reviews from critics and fans alike and earned Matthew a Critics Choice and TCA Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series as well as an Emmy Nomination. Later that year he starred in “Interstellar,” directed by Christopher Nolan, and also starring Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain. Next he will be seen in the upcoming Stephen Gangham directed, “Gold” as well as opposite Idris Alba in “The Dark Tower” based on the popular Stephen King novels.
In 2008, Mr. McConaughey started The just keep livin Foundation (www.jklivinfoundation.org), which is dedicated to helping boys and girls transform into men and women through programs that teach the importance of decision-making, health, education, and active living. The Foundation has partnered with Communities in Schools (CIS) – the nation’s largest, non-profit, dropout-prevention organization –in West Los Angeles to implement fitness and wellness programs in two large urban high schools. Through an afterschool program, they are able to give kids a healthy start in life and the promise of a healthy future.
About Wild Turkey
The Distillery for Wild Turkey Bourbon is located in Kentucky, situated on a deep limestone shelf on the Kentucky River. The shelf acts as a natural filter and provides the distillery with crystal clear water, vital to making such a high quality product. The whiskey is fermented for 72 hours. Wild Turkey features the legendary father and son Master Distilling team of Jimmy and Eddie Russell, who have 97 years of combined experience making bourbon.
The famous Wild Turkey brand name first came about back in 1940 when distillery executive Thomas McCarthey took a few warehouse samples on a Wild Turkey hunting trip with a group of friends. The following year, his friends asked him for “some of that Wild Turkey whiskey” and the brand was born.
Wild Turkey is distilled and put into new oak barrels at a much lower ABV than most bourbons. This results in a much richer flavor, as less is cooked out during the production process. Ageing in the highest quality new American oak barrels with the heaviest char available (the Number 4 “alligator” char), imparts a smooth flavor and deep amber color to the whiskey. Wild Turkey is one of only a few bourbons to use this expensive, deep char.
The barrels are filled at the distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Website: wildturkey.com