Ad of the Day: IQ

A run-of-the-mill liquor commercial takes a dark, unexpected turn in this brilliant Swedish production

As the wind turns bitter and the days become shorter, what could be more appealing than a Friday night spent relaxing by the hearth with good friends and a warming glass of spirits? It's a scene that advertisers love to display in the cold winter months, but according to one Swedish group, it's what happens as the night goes on that really matters.

The first act of this new PSA from alcohol-awareness group IQ (and ad agency Forsman & Bodenfors) plays out like any fine liquor ad. As a group of good-looking locals come together to drink and relax at a cozy country pub, we're told that the Taman—the (fake) brand of golden liquid being poured into their glasses—comes from "carefully selected ingredients" and the "purest spring water." It's nothing less than "smoothness in a bottle," our narrator says. (If you're wondering why this Scandinavian spot appears to be an ad for Irish whiskey in English, it's because alcohol marketing is banned from Swedish television. To circumvent this rule, some of the country's major TV stations broadcast from the U.K., allowing them to air British liquor ads alongside Swedish shows.)

Just as the spot seems to come to an end, an unexpected second act begins. A bar patron's hand interrupts the slogan shot to grab the glass of whiskey—and suddenly, everyone in the bar is throwing them back. "There's more than smoothness," our narrator says, as smiles turn to winces with each gulp, and friendly behavior turns aggressive. "In Sweden, for example, one in five children suffers because their mom or dad drinks too much. Eight out of 10 acts of violence in public places are alcohol related. And more than 320,000 Swedes are addicted to alcohol."

While it's easy to brush off the stats as being Sweden's problem—what else is there to do in a country where the sun doesn't shine for months at a time?—it's indicative of a larger issue, whether you're in Scandinavia, the U.K., or the U.S. IQ doesn't hold back in taking alcohol advertisers to task for their ceaseless charade that we live in a world where no one drinks to get drunk. What really happens when one drink turns to five is something that isn't honestly depicted all that often—and it makes for one hell of a PSA.

Client: IQ
Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors, Stockholm
Copywriter: Jacob Nelson
Art Director: Ted Mellstrom
Producer: Magnus Kennhed
Prod. Co.: Flodell Film, Stockholm
Director: Tomas Jonsgarden
Producer: Magnus Akerstedt
DP: Jakob Ihre
Post-Production: Chimney Pot
Telecine: Paul Harrison @MPC
Editor: Marcus Lindqvist
Sound Editor: Frippe Jonsater
Music Composer: Adam Norden
prod Service Company: Red Rage
Stylist: Denise Ostholm
Art Director: Johan Broome