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Raising a Glass To Spirited Brand Messages

Alcohol genre advertising abounds with stereotypical depictions and cliches. But there are times that some alcohol brands have laudably departed from scenario formulae, to deliver inspirational advertising messages of indomitable spirit, that make for rewarding viewing.

1. ABSOLUT Vodka, Equal Love

Advertising Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), London, UK

Sweden’s Absolut Vodka, with its iconic 18th-century apothecary bottle shape, was brought to the world’s attention by Advertising Agency TBWA’s inspired, long-running print campaigns, that in 1992 were inducted into the American Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame.

Absolute has a long and proud brand history of supporting LGBTQ rights, but the focus of their ‘Equal Love’ communication campaign goes beyond sexual preferences. It is about the freedom of all kinds of people to love absolutely anyone, and ‘Create a better tomorrow tonight’.

Directed by filmmaker Aoife McArdle, the sensual, filmically crafted choreography of an unfettered chain-reaction kiss, motivated 1,742,324 online views, and won numerous advertising award competition prizes for cinematography and best film direction.

The soundtrack features the hit song “There’s No Other Like My Baby” by the ‘The Crystals’, a popular 60’s vocal group based in New York City.

2. ABSOLUT Vodka, Born Colourless

Advertising Agency: MullenLowe Lintas Group, Mumbai, India

Directed by Brazilian filmmaker Pedro Becker, with three-time Academy Award winning cinematographer Robert Richardson behind the camera, ‘Born Colourless’ is part of Absolut’s worldview campaign initiative aimed at creating a better tomorrow.

The message that regardless of race, colour or creed, we are all part of the brotherhood of man with much to gain by being united, and nothing to gain by being divided, is powerfully brought home by the commercial’s impressive symbolic dramatisation that poses the insightful question of, “How can being a shade apart mean being world’s apart”?

3. Jose Cuervo, Have A Story

Advertising Agency: McCann, New York, USA

Mexico’s Jose Cuervo, the world’s best selling Tequila from the La Rojeña distillery, in the town of Tequila, Jalisco, is the oldest active distillery in Latin America that dates back to its official opening in 1812.

McCann New York brought the gifted talents of director and filmmaker Dante Ariola, and Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland together, for this engaging Jose Cuervo scenario of having a story to tell by exploring the many ‘maybes’ of life for exciting encounters and fulfilling human endeavours.

The commercial exemplifies the iconic brand’s spirited persona that has entertainingly been brought to life with Keifer Sutherland as the featured narrator.

4. Jose Cuervo, Last Days

Advertising Agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Los Angeles, USA

Tequila is made by harvesting and distilling the flowering blue agave plants of central Mexico. Varieties include clear ‘ Blanco’ or ‘Silver’, and tawny-coloured, barrel-aged tequilas, that have richer flavours, similar those that may be found in brandy and aged whisky.

The apocalyptic scenario about the end of the world as seen from inside Charlie’s, a road bar in the middle of the Mexican desert, has been cinematically portrayed with drama and humour by the storytelling talents of director and filmmaker, Ringan Ledwidge.

When the world starts falling apart around them, and people flee in terror, a bar customer decides to select “It’s now or never” by Elvis Presley on the jukebox that starts a party going.

Resigning themselves to their impending demise, bar patrons decide its best to enjoy what limited time they may have left, with spirited Jose Cuervo. It’s now or never.

5. Jim Beam, Parallels

Advertising Agency: StrawberryFrog, New York, USA

Produced in Clermont, Kentucky, USA, since 1795, Jim Beam is one of the best-selling brands of bourbon whiskey in the world.

Superbly directed by Dante Ariola, Jim Beam’s ‘Parellels’ commercial stars Oscar winning American actor, Willem Dafoe.

The ‘voice-over’ narration is also by Dafoe and he reminds us that in life there is really only one choice; “All choices lead you somewhere. Only a bold choice takes you where you’re supposed to be.

‘Parallels’ won a Cinematography Yellow Pencil at the D&AD Awards and Cinematography Gold at the International ANDY Awards.

The American Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) honoured the commercial with awards for Direction, Visual Style, and Cinematography.

6. Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, The Parting Glass

Advertising Agency: Opperman Weiss, New York, USA

The world’s second largest selling brand of Irish whiskey from the Tullamore Dew distillery in the Tullamore county town of County Offaly, dates back to 1829.

This emotive scenario about deep male bonds, the nostalgia of carefree bachelorhood and the parting of a friend to the embrace of another, for me is a masterpiece of atmospheric and nuanced storytelling craft directed by filmmaker Laurence Dunmore.

Filmed in County Wicklow, south of Dublin, the narrative is driven by the beautiful lyrics of ‘The Parting Glass’ song of farewell, sung for, and to close friends, that combines a message of joy and sorrow in a way that is sad and yet uplifting at the same time.

Of all the money that e’er I spent
I’ve spent it in good company
And all the harm that ever I did
Alas it was to none but me
And all I’ve done for want of wit
To memory now I can’t recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

If I had money enough to spend
And leisure to sit awhile
There is a fair maid in the town
That sorely has my heart beguiled
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips
I own she has my heart enthralled
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

Oh, all the comrades that e’er I had
They’re sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e’er I had
They’d wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I’ll gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be with you all