Stella

and Grouse

At Gasp we’re always amenable to ads for alcoholic drinks, we’re fans of the genre. Even with all the regulatory limitations placed on ‘boozvertising’ (sorry) agencies still manage to produce great ads for alcohol. I think most punters would agree that the booze ads are generally favourite. I think the nature of the product lends itself to entertaining ads, I mean its not like they’re advertising something boring is it; like car insurance - which can’t get you pissed.

Anyway, you don’t need me to lay out the panoply of great booze ads there’ve been over the years. If you’ve ever watched telly, the chances are you’ve seen at least a few. But I’m really not convinced by these recent campaigns from Famous Grouse and Stella Artois.

Perhaps I’m being a Luddite purist, but both brands have spent an absolute packet here creating gorgeous looking (and sounding) art installations and accompanying videos…that say exactly nothing about the product.

I don’t really understand what the point is.

Perhaps I’m being a Luddite purist, but both brands have spent an absolute packet here creating gorgeous looking (and sounding) art installations and accompanying videos…that say exactly nothing about the product.

With the Famous Grouse one, it seems the only connection is the word ‘famous’ and some tenuous link with a bloke swilling the whiskey round the glass. With Stella, it’s even weirder. I know they’ve been pushing the fact that ‘it’s not a glass, it’s a chalice’ for some time now, but what does that have to do with musical instruments?

Now don’t get me wrong, these art installations are great, and I’d probably spend a few minutes looking at them in a gallery, but will anyone really remember what they’re for in this context? Or will they really make more people buy more beer and whiskey. My guess: No.

We all understand the concept of brand advertising of course, and clearly these ads are attempting to further consumer’s perceptions of quality in ‘Grouse and ‘Stella. They’re trying to position them as ‘Veblen’ goods’ – ‘premium products’ to the layman. The high cinematic quality of the video increases brand equity by the positive association. And this can no doubt work well on occasions.

I’m just not that convinced with these campaigns.

My feeling is that if you placed ‘the man on the Clapham omnibus’ in a pub or bar, literally at the point of purchase for a smorgasbord of bottles and taps, and showed him these ads, he’d say;

‘Well that’s all very nice…but why should I go for Stella / Grouse over anything else here?’

Wise words indeed from a man I just made up.

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