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A lot of people in adland are quite rightly raving about JWT London’s new spot for Smirnoff vokda.
However the thing that is making me smile is that they are also saying the ad/brand is expressing some sort of ’semi-political agenda’ by highlighting how mankind pollutes the World with its waste/mindlessness.
Now call me a cynic … but I don’t believe this was part of Smirnoff’s agenda at all. Infact the only people who deserve credit for this are the creatives who wrote it and the team that sold it.
You see there is a massive difference between saying something and living something – and Diageo [Smirnoff’s owners] only like to focus on more traditional advertising channels – even if they have the opportunity to take it into a whole new, cultural-infiltration area.
Take Johnnie Walker …
Here is a brand whose core thought is ‘personal progress‘. [Expressed as: Keep Walking]
Putting aside the validity of that message, the fact is they could have extended this idea into all sorts of areas – but they didn’t.
Is it because they didn’t think it would help the brand idea get into people’s minds?
No … they appreciate how powerful that could be … but Diageo [who are more an alcohol marketing company than an alcohol producing company] only spend money where they believe it can directly influence sales so anything that just brings their advertising idea ‘to life’ [of which there are many interms of JW], gets pushed aside in favour of typical alcohol communication: TV, Print, Experiential, POS and Promotion.
While Charles quite rightly reminds us that in these days of product parity, values and tone can be the all differentiating factors … I do not believe the Smirnoff brief had in any way any reference to challenging humanity on its ‘way of living‘.
Lets look at some points …
1 The whole pollution aspect is a take on Smirnoff’s 100% pure campaign – which has been running for years and is actually a product attribute rather than a brand value.
2 The subliminal [or not so, in this case] message of don’t fuck up what’s natural is all well and good but then they spend millions in [a] POS [b] experiential [c] packaging which sort of undermines their integrity.
3 I’m willing to bet they won’t extend this ’cause’ into anything other than ads – and in the rare event they do, it’ll be token gestures like Banks do with donating to charities.
Don’t get me wrong … this is a great thing for a brand to do and I am over-the-moon an ad agency was seemingly behind it, but don’t try and tell me Smirnoff are the good guys in this because I reckon they still see it as an ad flogging the same ‘pure’ message they’ve used for years and if they do take it any further [or make it bigger] it’ll be because of social/cultural pressure rather than any great desire to help put the planet back in order.
[And even then they’ll only do it if they can make money out of it, like BP acknowledge they did with their wonderful BEYOND PETROLEUM positioning – which they’ve ‘lived’ for many, many years – be it changing their forecourts to being huge investors in non-traditional fuel research amongst other things]
Great ad … but still just an ad.
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