Keep Walking… But to Where?

Today’s guest RepMan is by Peppercomm’s Executive Creative Director, Matt Lester. 

AwNnjGlCIAAEhk4I’d say that most every ‘creative’ has done spec work to showcase their various talents. I always enjoy seeing how far off the beaten path young talent will go, when untethered by clients’ biases – not to mention creative directors biases.

Two college students, Dorian and Daniel, wrote and produced the spec commercial, “Dear Brother”, inspired by Johnnie Walker’s brilliant “The Man Who Walked Around the World.” It is a very nice effort by some talented college students, which, on more than one level, puts a lot of seasoned agency creatives to shame. (The video is at the end of this post.)

The voiceover is a poem, written in collaboration with the actor John Reilly, is well done.  Though its connection to Johnnie Walker’s positioning is a bit tenuous, I will commend their ability to play in the sandbox with other creatives. The production values are outstanding, with nice performances and beautiful cinematography, which is appropriate to the content. All around, a very good effort by raw talent. Bravo!

Having said that, and I hate being the one to break the news, but my consul to Johnny Walker would be not to have anything to do with this fine piece of film making. You see, (spoiler alert) knowing the number of alcohol related deaths each year is not something the industry is proud of, I doubt they’d want their audience wondering if it was their product that lessened this fine family by one brother. Eventually, perhaps, due to the brothers’ “ways, always [being] the same,” this fine family would be reduced by two.

Liquor companies have stayed out of the high courts by being pretty good at policing themselves. They’ve done this not only by avoiding promotion of overconsumption, but also by overtly promoting moderation. Allow me to point out that there were never any laws against promoting liquor on network television. Over all these decades, the liquor companies themselves elected not to broadcast in order to avoid the fate of the cigarette industry. Smart, I’d say.

So, do push boundaries, do think outside the proverbial box, crush it, my young friends. But always mitigate the risk to the company you’re working so hard to promote. Engage your audience, create brand loyalty and, yes, entertain. But stay true to the brand’s essence, and don’t sacrifice its integrity for entertainment’s sake.

But, hey, good luck. The kid’s got talent. Keep working.

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