Irony, thy name is Canadian Club. Or not–obviously lots of readers are knocked out by how awesomely awesome this “Awesome Whiskey Ad” is, but to me, it felt cheap and, yes, ironic, but in a remarkably negative way. I doubt very much that Don Draper, master of New Frontier Swank, would approve.
Canadian Club’s new ad reminded me instantly of what James Lileks wrote a few years ago about Heineken’s similarly gen-X themed campaign, which to the best of my knowledge is still running. Especially as Lileks unknowingly captured the personality of my father so well (other than the golf geek stuff). Dad switched to Heineken from Lowenbrau in the mid-1970s when the latter began to be brewed domestically:
Heienkein screwed the pooch several years ago when switched ad campaigns. It decided it didn’t want to be a premium beer for people who had premium tastes, and instead it went for the Xtreme market. The brand had been nurtured for decades as a symbol of taste and refinement, and now it’s slacker-hooch? Great move. Putting out a can in the shape of a keg to cement the frat-boy connection – another great move. The ad reps should have gone to the store and looked who bought it: Dad. He thought he was an aesthete when he was in college, drinking Heneken while everyone else pounded down the Fox Deluxe and Walter and Falstaff and other iterations of the eau de dead mouse imbibables; now he’s the golf geek with madras shorts, white legs, dark socks and sandals. The guy who still has a reel-to-reel for his Gil Evans collection, the guy who wonders why Leroy Neiman doesn’t apppear in Playboy anymore, the guy who’s noted in his social circle for his ability to use the Internet, but who’s never used the right mouse button. No, he’s not hip. But he makes $174,000 a year. By all means, alienate him in an attempt to win over that lucrative Kinkos demographic!
Which seems to also describe Canadian Club’s new campaign strategy pretty well.