It's hard being a booze brand these days. Time was when you could pack your ads with glitz and glamour, a bit of sexual tension and sell your brand on the back of a promise of a good time.
No more, of course. Not in binge drinking Britain. These days the rules on the advertising of alcohol are tighter than a bottle-in-a-bag tramp on a park bench.
So getting real traction with booze advertising is a tough call. The new work for Carling from Beattie McGuinness Bungay cuts through with a great play on the camaraderie amongst mates on a night out.
Directed by the brilliant Frederik Bond, it kicks off with five spacemen emerging from their craft to come before a scary alien force at a sort of psychedelic star gate. All very 2001: A Space Odyssey. An otherworldly voice calls them forward, before booming in true bouncer style: "Hang on, are those trainers?"
Blokey in the pumps is refused entry to enlightenment and tells his mates to go ahead without him. But they pass this test of loyalty and refuse to abandon their mate, deciding to try somewhere else instead. Cue backslapping and general male bonding to the line: "You know who your mates are. Belong."
Carling is going all out to position itself as the most sociable (blokey-style) booze brand on the market and the ad captures that sense of matey-loyalty perfectly. Who needs sex?
Claire Beale is the editor of Campaign magazine