- When you’ve been in the biz far too long -like yours truly- every time you confront an advertising execution of some sort you can see right through it: the stale “strategy”, the focus groups, the power point decks, the creative tropes, the tired gimmicks, the usual clichés.
- Like any drug dealer would tell you, only fools consume their own product.
- Every now and then though a campaign crosses my path that truly and honestly makes me interested in the actual product it is peddling.
- As opposed to just trying to force feed me some artificial lifestyle or other.
- I’m talking about the latest Smirnoff vodka campaign featuring Ted Danson.
- See, I’ve done my share of work in the spirits category.
- Granted, it is a damn tough category to crack.
- Everything’s been tried, everything you come up with looks and sounds like déjà vu.
- At some point in the early 00s liquor advertising became a litany of self-help slogans out of a Tony Robbins seminar.
- Usually with some Pavlovian play on words reminiscent of the brand name, such as “Keep Walking” (Johnny Walker, duh)*
- As Ted Sann, legendary creative director at BBDO in the golden years of the 80s & 90s, used to say: cut the middleman, shoot the brief.
- Another tired fetish of the category is to prey on the hormone-fueled insecurities of 20-something post adolescents.
- It’s cringe-inducing.
- Been there, done that.
- Guilty as charged.
- Not all is lost.
- The Smirnoff campaign I mentioned above, IMHO, hits all the right notes.
- An honest brief devoid of nonsense.
- A solid value prop.
- A few clever testimonial-style scripts with a generous dose of self-deprecating humor.
- A relevant spokesperson with proven comedic timing and unafraid to make fun of himself.
See for yourself here:
And CLICK HERE.
*Other examples: Live with chivalry (Chivas Regal); Be cointreauversial (Cointreau) and the worst planning-driven, focus group-vetted piece of crap I’ve seen in years: Be the mëister (Jägermeister)