The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article about Jameson Whiskey's new advertising campaign. The article quotes Paul Duffy, a Pernod Ricard executive: "If you can root the brand in truth and authentic ideas, I think consumers are looking for that kind of real substance." For instance, one commercial has Jameson founder John Jameson battling an octopus to save a barrel of whiskey that had fallen off a ship. Now, here is what is so interesting. The ads provide a funny look at the brand's heritage. However, according to the article, "Little in either ad rings true."
Hmmm... so the ads are not authentic at all! They may be very effective though. They link back to the brand's heritage, but in a humorous way. No one wants to bore young 25-35 year olds in the firm's target market with "history" commercials. These ads seem to walking a fine line, providing a bit of a "heritage" feel to the branding while keeping it hip and funny. They become the types of ads that probably play well in the social media space as well. The campaign does raise a challenge though. You want to be careful that you don't sacrifice the quality image of the brand by going for laughs. The firm also has to be mindful that such ads may bring accusations that the firm is targeting young underage drinkers. These are all interesting questions that these creative ads raise, and that other brands must consider as they try to walk this fine line between heritage branding and remaining hip.