Michael Imperioli hates that you're on Facebook.
Of your 762 virtual friends, how many would you really like to share a glass of premium 1800 Tequila with? That's one of many not-very-provocative questions he asks in a raft of new commercials from ad agency Dead As We Know It—a series of unapologetic riffs on the wimpy trappings of modern life that play up the virtues of old-school values like friendship, authenticity, good conversation and non-virtual camaraderie.
Imperioli has been pitching the brand for a while, and the work always hinges on his personality—the tough-guy persona forged in all those years as Christopher Moltisanti on The Sopranos. Every one of the eight new spots, breaking on ESPN, begins with Imperioli saying "Whatever happened to …" and then trashes something that just isn't as cool as it used to be—clothes, cars, food, drinks themselves, even men. There's even one spot about commercials. "Whatever happened to commercials?" Imperioli asks. "So many of them don't make any sense, and you can hardly tell what anyone's selling." He pauses, then says, stonefaced: "This is a commercial for tequila."
The whole campaign is just that straightforward—broad and clichéd and extremely safe, a grumpy, manly manifesto for guys who don't get enough guy time and who are a little embarrassed at where the metrosexual world has taken them.
In the end, whether you like the ads might just come down to whether or not you like Imperioli. Some find him annoying. But it's a hard to argue with the bluntness of the approach. Real men drink real premium tequila. Why make it more complicated than that? Those 762 virtual friends can stick to the girly drinks.
Client: 1800 Tequila
Agency: Dead As We Know It, New York
Creative Director: Mikal Reich
Art Director: Charmaine Choi
Copywriters: Ella Wilson, Jesse Adelman
Production Company: Visual Nomad
Executive Producer: Doug Allenstein
Producer: Barbara Gilmore
Director: Alex Winter
Director of Photography: Anghel Decca
Editorial Company: Union Editorial
Executive Producer: Caryn Maclean
Producer: Jen Hargreaves
Editor: Jinx Godfrey
Assistant Editor: Ben Sozanski
Flame: Mark Wilhelm, Phil Akka
Title Design/Animation: Juan Sanabria
Color Correction: CO3
Colorist: Tim Masick
Sound Design: Color
Sound Designer/Mixer: Josh Abbey
Music: The Budos Band
Still Photography: Laurie & Charles Photographs