Category: Marketing
Bartenders, General Cocktails, Marketing, Rule 4

The Next Word We Need To Banish: Curated

Can we talk? It is time to recognize that another word has gotten out of control. It is rampaging through the cocktail (and general culinary) industry, making those who employ it look insufferably twee. And worse, making the entire industry which is perilously close to embracing it look twee as well. I mean more twee than craft cocktails already kind of are. To be sure, this word is also being abused in many other arenas as well, but I write about cocktails, so that's where it pisses me off the most. It's just pretentious as hell. I'm talking about our sudden need to claim that we "curate" everything. Stop it. First off, most people don't know what it means, even if they just read the bare bones definition a few minutes ago. Most folks hear curate or curator and think of it as someone who collects and presents rare and precious things in museums. The positive image that probably lurks in their subconscious when they think of curators, especially if they are considering identifying themselves as such, is this guy: indiana-jones-curator No. That guy is in "Purchasing". A curator is more this guy. X1QAr1GR_400x400 Not quite the same, huh? But either way, the subtext cocktail types who employ the word curate want to portray is collecting, organizing, presenting, and protecting things that represent the great works of a civilization. You know, as in, "This belongs in a museum!" And that is the subtext most people who see the word employed have as well. And that's the problem. A cocktail menu, I don't care it is Dead Rabbit's or Smuggler's Cove's, is not a collection of the great works of a civilization. Sure, the Manhattan may well be the single greatest culinary achievement of American civilization. I happen to think it is. But let's face it, your list of house-created seasonal recipes is not the Louvre. It's not even Ripley's. And even if a cocktail menu is made up of nothing but time-honored masterworks, prepared to perfection... it's a list of drinks. And putting them on a menu does nothing to protect them for posterity. It is a colossally pretentious word for a list of products available for sale in, for practical purposes, unlimited quantities. Even if you have a "carefully curated selection of rare whiskeys", it is still a bunch of bottles on a shelf or three. If a particular bottle is still made, it is something for sale, again, in relatively unlimited quantities. If it has been discontinued, the purpose of offering it for sale is ultimately to destroy it permanently. None of all this is curation. The most charitable interpretation of this phenomenon is just another cutesy element in an industry that already dances so close with being "precious", a chaperone needs to swing by with a ruler to separate them for the craft's own good. JAEb383 At it's worst, this "curation" fetish is self-important, "Tulip Bubble" kind of thinking that encourages a dangerous disconnect between the value of a product as perceived by customers and by producers. Whether you are Le Lion de Paris or Bob's Bar (The Cultural Hub of the Midwest!), You. Are. A. Business. You are not a revered academic institution. Seriously guys, this term is creeping into use by people I both like and highly respect. Stop it. You are only damaging your industry and your own enterprise. And looking just a bit like an ass doing it.abc
Beer, Marketing, The Most Interesting Man in the World

End of an Era: Dos Equis Retiring The Most Interesting Man in the World™

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] [caption id="attachment_11132" align="aligncenter" width="1940"]Johnathan Goldsmith Johnathan Goldsmith[/caption] This is indeed the end of an advertising era: Dos Equis beer is retiring The Most Interesting Man in the World™. For nine years, actor Johnathan Goldsmith has reigned as alcohol advertising's most successful, most entertaining, most meme-ified, and yes, most interesting spokescharacter. His reign has been a singularly effective one for Dos Equis, increasing case shipments by about 35%, and making the brand a central component of Heineken's growth. To draw the curtain, Dos Equis is saying goodbye with a 60 second commercial, sending him off on a on-way trip to Mars. "His only regret... is not knowing what regret feels like." Please note, he does not appear to be going alone.... The combination of ad campaign and actor were lightning in a bottle. The ads, especially in the early years, were entertaining montages of the sly and the surreal. They were the kind of ads that kept your finger off the fast-forward button on your DVR, and would even make you reach for the rewind to go back. In the modern age of TV advertising, this characteristic is a pearl beyond price. The ads veered from solid life advice ("Men, if I can count the change in your pockets, it had better be there to pay your tailor."), to high adventure rescuing bears from traps and foxes from hunts, to clever word play ("His charm is so contagious, vaccines have been created for it.") to the frankly impossible ("If you saw him walking a chihuahua, it would still look masculine."). And all the way, it was impossible not to smile. And Goldsmith's rugged, indefinably exotic, aged-like-good-scotch looks made it all work, and seem, if not believable, satisfyingly coherent. Another bonus for Dos Equis was how meme-ifieable the character is. And the memes almost never cast The Man in a negative light, which is a bonus.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column css=".vc_custom_1457560357072{margin-bottom: 18px !important;}"][vc_masonry_media_grid grid_id="vc_gid:1457560319333-48fcaf5c-6759-6" include="11135,11136,11137,11138,11139,11140"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] But while the story has a happy ending, with The Man off to Mars with his blonde co-pilot, I'm not sure it is going to end well for Dos Equis. Yes, the campaign has grown stale. After nine years, it would be a miracle for it not to. So it may well be time to move on to the next thing. But Dos Equis is moving on to... a new Most Interesting Man in the World. Apparently the new Man will be a much younger one to let millennials identify.... You never catch lightning in a bottle twice. Try something new. Don't always go for the reboot. Buy when you do, don't screw up the characteristics that made the original work. See what I did there? When Dos Equis cast Goldsmith originally, they were looking for a much younger man. But Goldsmith's agent convinced them that The Man not only could be older, he had to be. Here's the hard truth, Millenials, (Do I need to say Trigger Warning before hard truths? Yes? Too bad.) you are not interesting. Sorry. It's not your fault (most of you). But you haven't been around long enough to have seen and done enough to be interesting. You can be smoking hot. You can be funny. You can be passionate. But you are not terribly interesting. Call us later. Dos Equis says their main concern is that "...people see the character and Jonathan as the same person. Hopefully as we evolve the campaign, they’ll get over that." Yes, that will be an issue, but one they can work through. They are professionals. But if they go with a young man, the new campaign will die on the vine. I understand that millennial hipsters are self-centered narcissists who think they are the only people who matter. Every generation is that. If you want to go with a millennial spokescharacter, fine. Go for it. But make it a different character. If you want to make a new Most Interesting Man in the World, that is also fine. There is a lot of gold to be mined from the changeover, at least, though I have my doubts that changing the actor will reinvigorate the writers. But make sure the new Man is old, old enough to be believably Interesting. Regardless, the new Dos Equis ads are a ways down the road. For now, let's go pick up a six-pack of Dos Equis, and raise a glass to Johnathan Goldsmith's Most Interesting Man in the world. The only way they could give your title to another man was by sending you to another planet.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]abc
Marketing, Whisky

The Most Brilliant Liquor Ad of the Year… Isn’t

Dear Brother Johnnie Walker is known for producing some truly stunning, entertaining and evocative short films that masquerade as ads. Scotch ads in general are pretty awesome, but Johnnie's have been the best. I think it is because they leant so far into their mythos. Gently driving images of Scotsmen of indeterminate age but indisputable attractiveness, walking relentlessly across misty Scottish moor and mountain, exuding from every frame a sense of restrained, subtly joyous manliness will evoke the realization that while the Romans may have invented stoicism, the Scots made it worthwhile. Whatever one's consciously identified ethos, just beneath the surface of the mind, all men want to be the characters in Johnnie Walker ads, and all women want to be with them. And their latest ad takes it up a notch... with a twist, several in fact. The foremost is that Johnnie Walker didn't make it. Watch it now. It's only 90 seconds and well worth every one. Don't read on until you do. That folks, is a student-made spec ad from Germany. I'm pretty sure that 90-second amateur videos don't get Oscar consideration for Best Short Film, but this one should. It's a masterpiece of moving picture story-telling. In less time than it takes (me) to whip up a Rob Roy, it tells a complete story of a life well-lived and tragically cut short, of familial love, and devotion, and loss. The cinematography is gorgeous, the camera tricks seamless, the music is perfect, and the words are transfixing. It is the film equivalent of Hemingway's legendary (in every sense of the word) six word short story, "For Sale, baby shoes, never worn." And as an advertisement, it is almost perfect. The story doesn't just touch, it pounds on a central element of human existence that any person of an age to be buying Johnnie Walker has begun to confront, and it inserts the product in a subtle way as a central element to both happiness and healing. Its only flaw is that the brand has changed its slogan and its marketing narrative of late from the Keep Walking that was perfect for this story to one that is less so. Still, I wish Daniel Titz and Dorian Lebherz all the success in the world, in the United States would be preferable. They are the kind of ad makers that can keep me from hitting FFWD on my DVR.abc
Beer, Funny, Marketing, Spokescharacters

The New James Bond Heineken Ad Is Pretty Badass

The new James Bond Heineken ad celebrating Spectre is pretty cool. What I like about this is, it is actually a classic beer ad, i.e. the suggestion that the mere presence of the advertised beer will make your life a fantasy come true. In that way, this Specter ad is very similar to the Skyfall one from 2012. Interestingly, the earlier one was very much in line with the Skyfall spirit: A chase of our hero through dark and somewhat surreal realms. Meanwhile this new one is almost distinctly Roger Moore in character, down to the Hervé Villechaize appearance. I find it hard to believe that Spectre will have quite that level of joie de vivre, though. What do you think?abc
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