Featured Society/Culture — 08 October 2012
Commercially Viable: Southern Comfort

By Liz Belilovskaya

This is possibly the…no, it IS the greatest commercial ever made. Yep, I stand by this: the semi-naked guy, the drink, the dog and the music, all perfectly make up this brilliant piece of advertising. Kudos to the creative team at the New York=based marketing agency, Wieden +Kennedy, on the campaign. SoCo’s “Beach” ad is truly awesome! The most interesting man in the world has nothing on this dude.

The first time I saw it, I had no idea what the ad was for. There’s a variety of things that it could’ve been trying to sell me: sunglasses, underwear, leather shoes, tanning lotion, alcohol, dogs – hell – even a dating service. But the advertisement concluded without ever stating the product, there was no obvious “thing” or call to action that I noticed. All I knew was that I liked its style. It had a good vibe to it. A certain amount of light-spirited kinship was immediately established between myself, and that thick and oily man.

Maybe it was how confidently he strutted down that beach, or perhaps it was the trust he inspired in his canine follower. I don’t know and I couldn’t tell, but the ad made me curious about the product. It was mysterious and intriguing enough to get me to care about what it was trying to sell me. The second time I saw it, after paying closer attention, I figured out what the product was, but not the brand. I realized that it was highlighted by the actor’s body language and how the “content” was conveyed via visual cues and the featured track – “Hit or Miss”, by the incredibly awesome Odetta. Later that day, I finally saw the “Beach” ad in its entirety and learned that it was for Southern Comfort.

I “Liked” the brand on Facebook right away, despite not being a whiskey fan, and apparently I’m not the only one. Reading through the comments, it turned out that most people have fallen in love with it. One comment reads as follows: Joshua Mueller “I do not like SoCo but I would hang out with this guy.” Establishing this kind of level of brand and/or product curiosity is what clever marketing is defined as, and so I say it again – this IS the greatest commercial ever made. And how cool is the “your OK and I’m OK” vibe? Pretty sweet right? Drink responsibly. [Ed note  – avoid banana hammocks kthxbye]

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