Smirnoff and JWT learn how the whole wide world likes to party

By Todd Wasserman on Mon Nov 22 2010

While the digital age has made the world seem smaller than ever, global culture remains endlessly diverse. To celebrate that diversity, and to expose different cities to other's local nightlife scenes and cultures, Smirnoff and JWT New York have created the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange. Fourteen cities around the globe have spent the past few weeks swapping ideas about what makes their nightlife unique. On Nov. 27, all will be unveiled when parties take place simultaneously in cities as far-reaching as Sydney, New Delhi, Buenos Aires and Miami (which is swapping nightlife experiences with London). Artists including N.E.R.D., Bonde do Role, Spoek Mathambo, Boys Noize, Los Amigos Invisibles, King Britt and Zane Lowe (himself the curator for the U.K.) will play at parties throughout the world. Fans can hit the "Like" button on Smirnoff's U.S. Facebook page for an invitation to the Miami event.

Mexican actress Ana de la Reguera shines in latest Kahlua ads

By Todd Wasserman on Tue Nov 9 2010

There were a couple of things I didn't know about Kahlua before this campaign from TBWA\Chiat\Day: 1) It's from Mexico, and 2) It has a sense of humor. The new ads feature Ana de la Reguera, a "prominent Mexican actress," according to the press release, who, as it happens, looks a lot like Penelope Cruz. Bringing a bit of Old Spice-style absurdism to the proceedings, de la Reguera takes aim, like that old Saturday Night Live "Nicaragua" skit, at Spanish over-pronunciation. Thus, Robert is Roberto!, shoes are zapatos!, and Kahlua is deliciouso! Another ad (posted after the jump) notes that in Mexico, they often combine things that don't go together, "like this couch in this field" or a boombox that also makes toast. Silly. I don't know how much Kahlua this will sell, but it did sell me on de la Reguera, who looks like she'd be hilarious in a Naked Gun-type farce, especially after you've had a few Kahluas.

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Andrew W.K. set to host the Most Interesting Show in the World

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Oct 21 2010

Instead of the suave and debonair Most Interesting Man in the World, we get hard-partying metal head Andrew W.K. as host of The Most Interesting Show in the World. I would've voted for the former, but he might've been a little understated for such an event. He's so darn charming, though! Heineken, pumping its Dos Equis beer, has created a live stage show with illusionists, dancers, escape artists and other Cirque du Freak-like attractions. It's heading to 17 cities this month and next, with the musician/performance artist/motivational speaker at the helm. Andrew W.K. is no stranger to brands, with his version of the famous Kit Kat commercial jingle under his belt. Check out the video to see what's in store, and don't expect to see the host in a dapper suit. You can always go here for that.

Vodka makers now sticking their bottles between anyone's legs

By Todd Wasserman on Fri Oct 8 2010


Why are vodka bottles so irresistibly phallic to some advertisers? First, there was that Skyy ad that featured a bottle between a woman's legs. And now, another vodka maker, Wódka, has rolled out this ad featuring a bottle shooting out of a greyhound's Chihuahua's nether region. The motif of the campaign, from agenct MMG, is to play off the names of famous cocktails (like, ahem, Sex on the Beach). But did you have to put the bottle down there? According to Brian Gordon, managing partner of MMG, it's all in good fun: "Our comical return to classic, simple drinks is resonating," he says, "and we felt that the campaign was a breath of fresh air for a category that now takes itself way too seriously."

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Smirnoff jumps into reality television with a traveling DJ contest

By David Kiley on Thu Oct 7 2010


Reality TV is hitting the rocks. More precisely, Smirnoff is sponsoring a new show airing on African American entertainment channel Centric, and rebroadcast on BET, called Master of the Mix. The obvious product tie-in with vodka will pit DJ against DJ in cities throughout the world in the quest to crown "The Hottest DJ in the World."
  The show, produced by GTM and Ben Silverman's Electus studio, is hosted by Just Blaze and Kid Capri. The competition kicks off at the DJ's "base camp" for the show, a luxurious home in the Hollywood Hills, and quickly moves to Nevada, where the DJs spin at The People's Challenge, a massive vodka-tasting event for Smirnoff at the Tao nightclub in Las Vegas. From there, the show follows the DJs from city to city—and party to party—including Miami, Los Angeles, New York and London, where contestants will put their skills to the test in a series of challenges.

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Anheuser-Busch decides it will just give Budweiser away for free

By Rebecca Cullers on Tue Sep 28 2010


Flagging sales have caused Budweiser to declare Wednesday as "Budweiser National Happy Hour." Bud will hand out free samples from six ounces all the way up to 12, where the law allows, in "trendy bars and eateries." The goal is to appeal to the under-30 set who, according to Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co., have adopted craft beer the way Gen X adopted wine. Bud's ranking among national product brands (not just beer) has dropped from 16th in 2003 to 220th in 2010, and Budweiser unit sales were down 9 percent last year. At the same time, craft-beer sales rose 9 percent in the first half of 2010, and craft brews nearly doubled their market share in 2009 (from 4 percent to 7 percent). Of course, free beer is only Bud's latest strategy. I think Anheuser-Busch will see a lot more success in continuing to buy small craft brews and distribute them without any Budweiser mention. Shock Top and Hop Hound, two of A-B's suds, are rebranded craft brews. Even if it's free, the only way you'll get die-hard craft fanatics like me to try Bud again is to change the recipe.

What big plans do the new owners of Pabst Blue Ribbon have?

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Sep 27 2010


Pabst Blue Ribbon beer will start popping up in videos on Colt 45 will get both flavor and Snoop Dogg infusions. And Red White and Blue could relaunch as a flag-waving, veteran-supporting brew for the nostalgic and patriotic. Those are some of the plans being discussed by Evan and Daren Metropoulos, who, along with their billionaire father C. Dean Metropoulos, now own the stable of heritage all-American beer brands that also include Schlitz, Schaefer, Old Milwaukee and Stroh's. (The elder businessman is a brand-turnaround specialist who intends to hold onto the PBR group for a while, as opposed to flipping it.) The brothers are thinking local and regional for their marketing focus, as well as celebrity tie-ins, sports, music and festivals, they tell Bloomberg Businessweek in a story so readable and detail-rich that it should be a must-read for marketers in any category. While the execs have used their connections to get PBR into hundreds of trendy restaurants and clubs, they're trying to grow the brand without blowing its hipster cachet. A delicate balance, that, but one that may make an incredible case study one day.

Brewers in California would much prefer you get drunk than high

By David Kiefaber on Thu Sep 23 2010


California heshers will have a stiff choice to make pretty soon, because the California Beer & Beverage Distributors association is opposing the state's upcoming proposition to legalize marijuana. Beer sellers have long been opposed to legalizing pot because of the feared impact on sales, and onlookers are waiting to see if liquor/wine dealers and pharmaceutical interests claim a stake in this debate as well. Local microbrews Sierra Nevada and Stone Brewing Co., which have become national brands in their own right, are pro-legalization and have lashed out at the CBBD for its decision. Stone has even removed itself from CBBD's listings over it. Prop 19 has become a microcosm for how confusing and hopeless California's political landscape really is, so it's hard to say which side of the beer-industry squabble is the right one in terms of brand image. Microbrews cater to a younger, hipper audience, so it makes sense that they'd be pro-pot, but more traditional labels would alienate their joyless, sandbilly consumer base if they sided with the stoners. One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet, though, is that people who enjoy smoking pot might also imbibe from time to time. That's hardly a novel observation. Methinks there are deeper and more sinister forces at play here.

Sherry attempting a comeback with a puzzling new ad campaign

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Sep 23 2010


If Mad Men can bring back highballs, sidecars and Manhattans, why can't ad agency Creature re-energize Sherry? Well, first of all, it had its time in '50s flicks as the libation of choice for the extended-pinkie crowd. And if anyone ordered it in a bar today, I think heads would turn, and they'd be expecting to see a boozy old (but well preserved) dame smoking from a fancy cigarette holder. The Sherry Council of America has a completely different image of the drink, which is actually a name-brand wine from Spain (a proper name, like Champagne). Creature, meanwhile, has launched an ad campaign under the guise of the "Secret Sherry Society," with print, wild postings and sampling events in cities like New Orleans, Seattle and Boston. The society is so secret, by the way, that its spokescharacters are invisible! How's that for guerrilla marketing? The whole campaign, in fact, wants you to use your imagination—decipher the ads and find the tasting party. (There's even a shoe phone involved. How very Maxwell Smart of them!) If you can't figure all this out, maybe you've already had too many tiny little goblets of Sherry. In that case, it's probably time to retire for the day and try again next cocktail hour.

Beer brands scorned for poor English-to-Spanish ad translations

By David Kiefaber on Mon Sep 20 2010


As incomprehensible as a lot of beer ads are in English, they are apparently even worse when translated into Spanish. Michenelle Groller, a Brooklyn Spanish teacher, joined other Spanish speakers in calling out beer advertisers in this New York Post story for poor translation and general ignorance of the Latino consumer. Groller says badly translated ads are "not only misleading, but mostly offensive," adding that "if they were written in English, they would have never made it past the planning stages." Specific complaints are directed toward Budweiser (whose "Tomabilidad" isn't a real word), Coors Light (whose "Emborícuate" has the same problem), and Corona, which invites drinkers to "Más una fría que beer," which literally translates to "More one cold what beer." Given that Corona is headquartered in Mexico, that one's hard to excuse. This just looks bad for all companies involved. How expensive can a few competent translators be? Considering how much has been said about the growing Latino consumer base and the need for consistent outreach, one would think they'd try harder to not screw it up. Maybe their creatives have been skimming from the vats a little too much.



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