When the product doesn’t live up to the idea


Bill Bernbach once said that great advertising makes a bad product fail faster, because it’ll get more people to know it’s bad. I think, related to that, there’s another pitfall for brands, along the lines of good ideas making not-so-good products look bad in comparison. This whisky ad is a perfect example. Great story and lovely piece of film-making but when the product line gets delivered at the end it’s jarring verging on laughable. It just makes me think, “Shit, after all the old fella’s gone through, you’re only going to get him a Bells?!” A bottle of champagne maybe. A Johnnie Walker Black Label – yes. A Jagerbomb even. A bog-standard whisky, not so much. You might argue that the ad raises Bell’s up to an aspirational level. (I see they’ve included a premium version in the packshot – maybe Bell’s is seen as an upmarket whisky in Africa?) But the whole thing just makes me think the son’s a tightarse, the dad’s been cheated and the brand manager’s completely deluded.


About antmelder
Executive Creative Director at Host/Havas Sydney; passionate vegetarian; lover of books, boxing and Bruce Springsteen.

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