Probably the most optimistic rebranding campaign in the world

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The Independent Online

We are what we drink. With this in mind, two well-known tipples are being rebranded as cutting-edge art.

We are what we drink. With this in mind, two well-known tipples are being rebranded as cutting-edge art.

Carlsberg Special Brew, a lager so strong that it has traditionally been associated with the hardest, park-bench drinkers and the strongest stomachs, is now, apparently, a nectar of the gods.

Smirnoff vodka, meanwhile, is taking its eccentric image even further by associating itself with the devil.

Carlsberg is targeting an aesthetic, upwardly mobile thirtysomething, according to its spokeswoman, partly because of the success Belgian beers have had in establishing themselves as stylish, trendy and desirable.

"The advertising is being targeted at the more mature and discerning drinker," the spokeswoman said. "We are not targeting people who just want a cheap fix. We want the drinker who partakes of a 'style' brand. This is different from the usual perception of strong lagers."

The advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi has designed a £1m campaign for Carlsberg Special Brew, dubbing it "the beer of the gods".

The campaign depicts god-like figures in mythical settings holding cans of - you guessed it - Carlsberg Special Brew.

The pressure group Alcohol Concern was unimpressed with the new campaign.

A spokeswoman said yesterday: "This is potentially disturbing. Our feelings are that it will take a lot of rebranding to take [Special Brew] away from the drunk-in-the-street image that it has currently.

"Also, this could cause problems for people used to a normal-strength lager. They may drink the same quantity of Special Brew under the assumption that they are being stylish and trendy."

Smirnoff's advertising agency, J Walter Thompson, has hired the man who directed the video for the controversial single by Prodigy, "Smack My Bitch Up", to spice up its ads for Smirnoff Red.

The Swedish director Jonas Akerlund has made the hero of the ad a raven-haired, blue-eyed goth in a long, black plastic coat. Hemakes his way through a city to a chorus of tolling bells, Gregorian chants and distorted guitars.

He eventually walks through fire-breathing gargoyles and exploding lighting strips to The Tattoo Removal Parlour. There he parts his hair and reveals to the surgeon a "666" tattoo.

Elsewhere, a beautiful nun with a large basket of fruit asks a blue-eyed monk if he would like a cherry. "Mmm," croaks Brother Damien, "you read my mind, sister."

A spokeswoman for Smirnoff said yesterday: "We have employed a cutting-edge director because we want cutting-edge drinkers.

"With its associations with the devil, the advert is risqué for risqué people; not the sort of people who go to the Tate gallery. Britart is dated and pretentious. We want drinkers who are ahead of that."

IMAGE MAKEOVERS

Ferrero Rocher After eight years, Ferrero Rocher has scrapped itsnaff "ambassador's party" advert, which became a cult classic. The £2.5m ad campaign launched in the UK is the epitome of good taste. It features a dinner party hostess reluctant to part with her Ferrero Rocher.

Marmite

Around since the 19th century, Marmite has undergone several revamps. It most recently launched the "love it or hate it" campaign, to appeal to 20 to 35-year-old "'lapsed users".

Lucozade

Associated since its launch in 1927 with invalids languishing in bed, Lucozade now positions itself as an energy drink.

Babycham

In dinky bottles sporting a Bambi lookalike, the drink was designed to appeal to women with a propensity towards cartoon animals. It was given a sophisticated image (blue bottles) in the early Nineties, but then research showed bright young things would not be seen dead drinking it. Re-enter the cartoon deer.

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