As it turns out, there is much more to whiskey advertising than the pieces I covered in Whiskey Business. Those wonderful people over at Japander (a site chronicling the successes and failures of celebs in Japanese ads) have brought us a strange Sean Connery whiskey ad, and an eagle-eyed reader brought to my attention another Johnnie Walker ad that certainly obscures the line between ad and film. Join me after the jump to check out a few of these commercials.
Whiskey is big business. Just ask Bill Murray, who, in Lost in Translation finds himself in Japan hawking Suntory Whiskey. Turns out, Sean Connery actually did this in real life, to both tragic and comic effect (I knew he could do Shakespeare). I haven’t crunched the numbers myself, but rough estimates seem to indicate that Americans purchased about 45 million cases of whiskey in 2010. That’s a lot of cash, and making sure your ads help outsell the competition is of utmost importance.
Yes, we all know “The World’s Most Interesting Man” campaigns, and most of us can recall a slick Heineken ad or a Corona spot, but the whiskey ads these days cost a lot and bring in a lot more. Companies seek out the best ad men to create memorable, slick spots that catch your attention and help create a public brand image, like Apple with its logo and UPS with its whiteboard ads. Being part of the public lexicon helps solidify sales across the country, especially considering the labeling effect that exists in the wine and beer industries. Many beer and wine producers realized that people really don’t know anything about beer and wine (which is why companies like InBev regularly decimate competition across the board, despite inferior products). It’s about brand recognition and labeling, and the winners are often the companies that saturate the market with their product’s images.
Enjoy these fun, intricate, and downright silly ads, and keep your eyes open for liquor ads during fall sweeps. After all, the dark liquors are for the winter anyway. And if these aren’t enough for you, there’s always Mad Men. True story, Don Draper’s BAC hovers around .25 pretty much all day.