Elaborate Alcohol Advertising

Alcohol advertising in the UK is strictly regulated to prevent the encouragement of youth binge-drinking. These rules have made advertising a tricky business, resulting in some pretty interesting TV ads. Some take a similar angle to sexualised perfume ads, leaving you wondering whether to drink it or splash it on your neck; whilst others are reaching new levels of innovation. So here are a few of the best and bizarre alcohol adverts around.


Smirnoff Apple Bite:
So far removed from reality it becomes hypnotic, the beige imagery and the eerie soundtrack give it an unnerving atmosphere. Set in a neo-classical unnamed decade, the bar is reminiscent of Kubrick’s The Shining, adding to that creepy overtone. The themes are based on a Biblical reference to Adam and Eve, with fig leaves covering a couple as they walk through a hall, to a snake squeezing the apple into the vodka in a bid to state that we should give into the temptation of this particular sin. These themes are again far removed from the contemporary vision many of us have of alcohol, the exclusive nature suggest a more exclusive market.

Southern Comfort:
Heating things up is Whatever’s Comfortable from SoCo. This slogan is indeed embodied in this visual celebration of a scantily clad oiled-up man; but instead of the usual smouldering six-pack, he proudly displays his porkier beer belly as he struts down the beach. But what makes this advert so intoxicating is the sheer happiness and relaxation with the self. Strolling along in such ease, carefree, unjudged and quite fittingly sound-tracked by Odetta Holmes’ soulful music, this makes an entertainingly joyful advert, and is certainly not promoting binging.

Guinness: ‘Sapeurs’:
Guinness has surpassed expectations with their advert which explores a sub-culture of men from Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, called the ‘Sapeurs: the society of elegant persons of the Congo’. With its beautiful cinematography the advert encapsulates the spirit of these men, who embody elegance through flamboyant attire as form of resistance to the hardships and surroundings of their lives, uniting to bring peace. The advert is accompanied by a short documentary of the Sapeurs, found on Guinness-Europe’s YouTube page; definitely worth watching. The advert actually has few links to drinking Guinness, but at least they are doing something worthwhile with their budget.

So is advertising responsible for unruly kids? Perhaps not. Television and film content aimed at young people is much more accepting of binge-drinking culture, but that’s a whole other story. The elaborate and sometimes glamorous nature of these adverts is far away from inspiring binge-drinking among youth, but instead about developing the product to be more than just a brand.


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March 2021
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