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Stoli Raises an Important Question

August 17th, 2010

Would you have a drink with you? Think about it.

A new ad campaign for Stolichnaya Vodka by Ogilvy & Mather asks this very question. (Launched on May 24th, 2010 with print ads and TV spots)

This celebrity-driven campaign is set to run into 2011 and began with a powerhouse; Hugh Hefner.

Stoli Campaign: Hugh Hefner

“With the launch of this new campaign, Stoli recognizes originality, creativity and passion in a call to action to the consumer,” says Andrey Skurikhin, partner at SPI Group, brand owner. “Stoli has a history of venturing into unchartered territory and the new campaign will spotlight real originals, people who take chances without asking for permission. Hugh Hefner exemplifies these shared qualities with Stoli and is the perfect individual to kickoff our new campaign.” – BeverageWorld.com

Stoli has always been the original type. The tagline, “The most original people deserve the most original Vodka. Stoli. Lead On.” definitely puts them on some pedestal that many can admire. Clearly, Hugh Hefner is a great starting off point because 1) He appeals to a wide, relevant audience and 2) He is a leader.

“I’ve always tried to live my life on my own terms, with sophistication and style, and this Stoli campaign reflects those same beliefs,” says Hefner. “I was intrigued by the concept of having a drink with myself, and I’m very pleased with the final results. I think fans will get a kick out of the spots.” – BeverageWorld.com

The 2nd TV spot features Julia Stiles, apparently a “Hollywood Original”. I don’t know enough about her to say whether or not this is a good fit, but here is the ad:

Let’s look beyond the celebrities, beyond the connection between their personalities and that of Stoli Vodka’s. This campaign has a lot of potential, but in order for Stoli to reach full potential they will have to do more than produce commercials and print ads.

The most successful campaigns for alcoholic beverages, in my opinion, incorporate one of the following:

  1. A positive feeling, or lifestyle, that can only be experienced with that particular alcoholic beverage.  Example 1: Spirit of Bacardi – Island TV Spot Example 2: Grey Goose – Discerning Taste: Oysters
  2. The brand engages the consumer by giving names and meanings to existing rituals or events that occur where alcohol is present, or simply starting them. Example 1: Budweiser commercials that gives names to how people handle a load of beer cans or bottles; the sherpa, labrador retriever, and the praying mantis. (Can you find the video?)

The most valuable part of this campaign is the question at hand, “Would you have a drink with you?” This is the beginning to a connection between the brand and their consumers. This is a very thought-provoking question, and the more Stoli plays around with it, the more times their brand will be shot into the consumer’s head.

Here are some ideas for the expansion of this campaign:

  • Stoli Celebrity Originals gives a profile of each of the celebrities used in the campaign and explains why they are original. It only seems right that they do the same thing for non-celebrities. Hold a contest and allow people to compete to be part of the campaign, maybe 3 total winners? It can be as easy as an essay contest where the participants explain why it’d be so great to share some Stoli Vodka with themselves. The 3 winners get their profile put up on the website, they get a claim to fame, some free stuff, and a one-of-a-kind, personalized bottle of Vodka.

Stoli has a sub-par social media presence, only their Stoli Vodka Facebook Page is showing some popularity with 17,169 liking it. On July 27th, Stoli asked their fans “If you were paired up with yourself like Stoli’s Celebrity Originals, what’s the first thing you would say?” This is a great start, but only 12 comments were received. How can the social media presence be improved with this campaign?

  • Keep engaging your fans! Don’t ask them that question on Facebook just once, ask them once a week with a different twist each time. How much would you spend when buying a drink for yourself? What flavor Vodka would you buy yourself? Would you rather have a drink with yourself from 2010, or the you in 2020? Would you accept a free drink from yourself? How many drinks would you have with yourself, just one? two? or until you’re passed out?
  • @Stolilife is doing a poor job of maximizing Twitter’s potential. Check out the feed, they aren’t talking to anyone.  They’re only following 8 people, and have a mere 254 followers after 4,000+ tweets. Even worse is the fact that there is another twitter account, @Stoli. Only 115 tweets but 600+ followers, and they are actually talking to people! First step: terminate @Stolilife and run just one account. Second step: I know it’s hard to start a trending topic because it’s really not up to the creator, but why not start. Bring the Facebook conversation over to Twitter. Have tweeps use #drinkwithme as the conversation anchor and encourage them to explain why they would or wouldn’t have a drink with themselves.
  • Stoli’s YouTube Channel is also far from special. I don’t even know if it’s their official channel or not. If you do a Google search for “Stoli Vodka YouTube Channel” the first result is ABSOLUT Vodka’s YouTube Channel. Here’s another simple idea, throw up a video encouraging people to film themselves having a drink with themselves. This would obviously take some effort by any participant, but it is sure to create some humorous videos. All of these videos would be in response to a Stoli video which would increase traffic, increase brand awareness, increase campaign awareness, and increase clicks to Facebook and Twitter accounts, provided that links are easily located.

Yes, the above ideas are SIMPLE. The point is that they are simple, and EASY. Come on Stoli, show some life. Capitalize on your clever campaign and complement it with social media efforts.

And no,  I would not have a drink with myself.

What do you think Stoli can do to improve this campaign? What celebrity do you think would be a good fit for the next TV spot? Would you have a drink with yourself?

Update (8/17): This post was in my drafts for a week while I searched for that Budweiser commercial to no avail, but it turns out Stoli is already extending this campaign: Are You Stoli Original Material?

Bryan Ricard Advertising, Commercials, Marketing , , , ,

Can’t Dodge This

January 25th, 2010

During last night’s NFC Championship game a Dodge Charger commercial aired that I wanted to share with everyone.  I consider it to be well executed:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8n1-CzSuMDQ]

If you are unaware, it is believed by many that the world will end on December 21st, 2012 because that marks the end of the Mayan calendar.

The narrator is Michael C. Hall from the hit show Dexter.

You can see more of the Dodge Charger commercials on YouTube here. They are all worth a watch, but the one above is my favorite.

What do you think?

Bryan Ricard Advertising, Commercials, Marketing , , , ,

Not A Cheesy Ad

January 20th, 2010

I came across this video earlier today, I forgot how, and thought it was great, give it a watch:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqlQS5CCmwI&feature=player_embedded]

Kudos to John Nolan for his creativity in this piece.

Imagine if this were a real TV ad for some brand of cheese, and shortened a little in order to fit a proper commercial slot. Would you enjoy it and tell your friends? Would you remember the brand of cheese being advertised? Would you at the very least remember this pumped up little mouse? If you answered yes to at least one of those questions, then that commercial would be considered a success.

I think it’s very memorable and powerful because it actually brings you through a set of emotions. I’ve included the steps for what I believe would be two general reactions:

1. Aw how cute that little mousy is getting some cheese
1a. Ah I hate mice! I hope that mouse trap destroys him!

2. *Snap* Oh no! Poor little guy! :(
2a. *Snap* Haha, he had it coming! Stupid mouse.

3. *Music* YES! YES! That mouse is the man !!
3a. *Music* What the ?! Crazy mouse better not come to my house.

It’s just a winning video on multiple levels with the music choice, emotional attachment, humor, and clever transfer of strong cheese to a beefy mouse.

What do you think?

Bryan Ricard Advertising, Commercials , ,

Anti-Smoking Ad

April 6th, 2009

Alright so I found this earlier on AdAge through a post by Ken Wheaton.

I watched this commercial before reading what Mr. Wheaton had to say about it. I’m not a smoker so this does not affect me directly, but I still think it’s a great ad. While I cannot speak for smokers, I do feel that it would have some sort of an impact on their thinking when purchasing another pack; at least for smoking mothers. How could you not feel some form of sadness when this little boy loses his mom and starts to cry?

The realness of this ad is “…leading some to call in complaints to the Department of Health” (Ken Wheaton). People are complaining because they believe that this little boy was not acting, he was put in a situation where he did react by crying. Now, this boy, who appears to be between 3-5 years of age, may be a “beyond his years” actor. However, in my own opinion, I have to believe this is not the case, and the boy was forced into a crying moment. I doubt that it was the exact situation depicted in the ad, losing his mother, but probably some other tragic situation. Donny Deutsch discusses this possibility with Matt Lauer, just scroll down.

Is this okay to do?

I am 100% for it. If in fact this kid was sadly forced to cry, I doubt it was anywhere near a life-altering experience. And in return, he’s helping everyone by getting people to quit smoking. I lost my mother once when I was probably around that age, maybe older. We were waiting in a checkout line at Stop & Shop, I turned and she was gone. Yea, I started to cry, who wouldn’t. She had only moved a couple checkout counters over, I just wasn’t paying attention. She had her eyes on me though, so I was still safe. My point is that for those few moments I was lost, and alone, and I cried. Does that moment affect me at all now? Nope. Granted, this kid was at a train station or whatever it was, so the disarray and fear he would have experienced was far greater, but the creeps that can be found at Stop & Shop can be just as horrifying.

Just because this ad targets smoking mothers, doesn’t mean they are the only ones who take something from this. The general message is about how ones smoking can result in tragic consequences for your loved ones. If a smoker unfortunately reaches the end of their line, they aren’t the only ones that are suffering the consequences. Loved ones, especially their children, have to deal with the consequences as well, and that can sure make current smokers have a guilty conscience about what they are potentially doing. For anyone who smokes and has children, watch that ad, and try to not feel guilty or heavy-hearted.

Bryan Ricard Advertising, Commercials ,