Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, they all had one thing in common. They were all fantastic writers drunks. Alcohol was the lowest common denominator for their inspirations. These men weren’t just thinking of stories while inebriated, they were putting pen to paper.
Remember the last time you wrote drunk? Back in the days of having one six-pack too many study beers. Back in school, a more common exercise was to create an ad campaign about things that we’re passionate about. In the ad industry, we’re passionate about alcohol.
Tour an ad agency freely and I assure you that you’ll find bottles of liquor in desks, solo cups in the trash and remnants of the Christmas party in the toilet. And there’s good reason too. A recent study has shown that alcohol is better than caffeine at bringing out creativity. More reason to make Honey Nut Whiskey-O’s a more socially acceptable breakfast.
That’s why, regardless to Don Draper claiming that SCDP finally made it when they won their first car account, an ad agency really makes it when they win their first alcohol account. Some of the best ads out there today are for some form of adult beverage: Budlight, Budweiser, Dos Equis, Corona, Miller High-Life, Southern Comfort.
Even the ones I like making fun of most are for alcohol: Redd’s, 1800, Citroen, Wild Turkey, Big Hurt’s Beer.
And then there are these. Jameson really knocked this one out of the park. They must have been really paying attention to Money Ball because this home run came from one incredibly low budget.
If you open up a CA, a one-show, archive and so on, you begin to get the impression that the best ads come from incredible art direction, big budgets and screenplay writers who write copy on their free time. And if you’re a young writer, you may believe that you need to work at an agency with large accounts that are willing to shell out extra shekels for a big idea.
But this just goes to show you that you can entertain on a small budget. The economist has been doing this for years. And even as you get older, you can’t escape the small budget clients. Not everything you work on will be the fun stuff. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make an ad better than it has to be. That’s the beauty of our industry.
And coming up with one of these ads is way more impressive in your book than a mediocre, fully produced TV commercial. The world today is all about making things as simple as possible. So if you can get your message across on a magazine half sheet with a budget where your agency is getting paid in food stamps, and still get the message across clearly while being entertaining, then you are well on your way.
So once you work on your first alcohol account, feel free to sit back, crack open a bottle and get drunk write a great alcohol ad.