I miss liquor advertisements. I really do. There might be some noble intention in preventing liquor companies from advertising openly through television and print (many of them have resorted to surrogate ads, though), but the quality of liquor advertising that I remember from the late 90s (when I was too young to drink) was pretty good. Many of those ads were quite cult.
I remember the vodka ad (forget the brand) where the guy looks through his glass and sees other people in the bar turning into ferocious creatures (the best being the guy with a big moustache turning into a walrus). Then there was the “be what you wanna be” Bacardi ad – I loved the jingle. The “swinging to Bacardi blast” just doesn’t have the same effect as “sipping on Bacardi rum”. Then there was the Haywards ad, of the two men playing darts in the bar. Such #kvltness! They should have a way to show adult rated ads on TV during late nights, etc. and permit liquor advertising then.
Last night, though, I came across a very interesting form of liquor advertising. Liquor companies are allowed to advertise at point of sales, so you see these huge liquor ads that usually sponsor the boards of “wine shops”. Similarly, you see beer and cocktail glasses that would have been branded with certain brands (in London, for example, the bartenders would be very particular about serving drinks in the right brand of glass. Carlsberg (which I drank a lot of that summer thanks to newfound Premier League loyalty) would be served in a Carlsberg glass only. Guinness in a Guinness glass only. Indian bartenders usually don’t care about this and are happy to give you kingfisher in a Beck’s glass). And in some American style bars, you see neon-light boards advertising certain brands.
At the Hard Rock Cafe, however, where I was last evening, Eristoff vodka has figured out a nice (and innovative – for me at least since I haven’t seen this form elsewhere) way of advertising. They advertise on the menu! It is very simple. Every vodka-based cocktail, or cocktail containing vodka that is there on the menu, says “Eristoff vodka” rather than just “vodka”. For example, the description under “screwdriver” would read “Eristoff Vodka with orange juice”. Simple and elegant way of creating brand awareness, and recall value. And well-targeted also, since if you order the cocktail you immediately get to ‘taste’ the vodka.
There is a reason I avoid whisky-based cocktails. A couple of times I’ve had them, they’ve been generally infused with cheap local molasses-based whisky which has given me a bad hangover. Now, if only some better whisky company can start branding the menu of whisky-based cocktails, there is a good chance that people like me might order and drink more of whisky-based stuff. Though it still remains that I prefer my whisky neat.