Dear spirits distillers (and Bacardi in particular)

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Ads for spirits are returning to TV in the hope of winning younger drinkers. A member of the target audience thinks one brand will have to work very hard indeed to win her over

Can it be true that you, who brought to cinema advertising Auntie Beryl, the Dog and Parrot and those running men in impossibly (naff) white suits, are to hit the small screen with more of your oeuvre?

Apparently, you and your fellow distillers want to attract twentysomethings and this is why you are going for TV advertising, lifting a self-imposed ban that's stood for 40 years. But you know nothing about our generation if you think you can win us over by being on TV. You showed the same ads in the cinema for more than two years and I doubt you won yourselves anybody over 18 and a half.

The generation you say you're targeting don't watch TV anyway, although you probably know that already. They go to clubs, movies, raves. They are too cool for the likes of you. They already know all about the image of Bacardi - that's why they don't drink it.

Your ad men must have told you who does glug the stuff: middle-aged men and under-aged girls. You cater to them so well, why change now? Look at your ads - hardly a woman in sight, just hard-looking, muscle-toned men sharing a drink and a knowing laugh. It's a great fantasy if you happen to be homosexual, pubescent, or just hankering after the good old days.

You have reportedly had trouble already with the censors, who are said to have rejected one of your ad scripts on the grounds that it would glamorise drinking in the eyes of the young. But this is the problem - the slacker generation doesn't share the same concept of glamour as you do. Bacardi and Coke is the drink of choice for girls only in private day schools above the Watford Gap. The farther away from sophistication one gets, the more provincial teens seem to think Bacardi supplies it.

With middle-aged men it is different. They have lost their fantasies about glamour; they are too busy trying to hide the paunch above their trousers. You supply the promise of what they want in their post-glamour days: youth. It's all about virility, I understand. But you want the Glastonbury crowd, right? I have to tell you, they won't be fooled by your tawdry Eighties imagery.

If you stick with your old constituents, you'll have no trouble building up a power base. You can reach the viewers you want by targeting the right TV slots: the ones just before Home and Away (when the kids have returned from school) and during the Rugby World Cup (when old men relive their glory) and you will have all your bases covered.

To attract twentysomethings, you need a drink that wouldn't look out of place in the film Clerks, or in Winona Ryder's hand. Perhaps you could hire Quentin Tarantino to write the script for the ad. Or maybe you could just give up.

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