Australia's Bundaberg Rum had a nice little campaign last year featuring the brand's posh yet insane late-1800s founders, an exploding crocodile, and a sarcastic apology to animal-rights activists. That work was amusingly absurd. But now, client and agency (Leo Burnett in Sydney) go completely off the rails with a crazy new 90-second spot, directed by MJZ's Tom Kuntz, for Bundaberg Five—a brand-new white rum aged in white oak.
The spot couldn't be whiter. A schlubby loser enters a dark bar where everyone's drinking dark liquor in a dark mood. But soon, a shaggy white bartender—who sings in a grating falsetto R&B—spirits him through a secret passageway to a gleaming-white underground paradise where everyone is enjoying Bundaberg Five. Giving his guest a tour of the place, the bartender sings ridiculously about the product, which "Ain't no poser's drink (It's a player's drink)/Ain't no boy-band drink (It's a manly drink.)" Gobsmacked, our hero doesn't say a word—he just stares at the lavishly preposterous scene, which includes, among other characters, a one-armed guy clutching his rocks glass in the tongs of his prosthesis.
Eventually, the singer—who's White Gold-esque but several octaves higher—leads the bargoer to a giant white-and-gold statue/staircase. At the top of the stairs, a giant bottle of Bundaberg Five rises from nowhere, and they ride it upward—the singer getting more and more manic until he finally, inexplicably explodes—his body parts becoming gold doves who promptly fly off. (Bundaberg loves detonating stuff.) Our hero is left stranded as the line "Clear character" appears in ornate gold script.
The bartender is a character—perhaps the most annoying of the year so far. But the rum itself? That's anything but clear. The whole carnival of weirdness swamps any real brand message. And the hints we do get seem contradictory. (Is it a manly drink? An effeminate one? Faux-manly? Faux-effeminate?)
Kuntz is a creative guy (see: the Emmy-winning first Old Spice spot with Isaiah Mustafa, and his other recent Australian booze project, for Hahn SuperDry beer). But this spot is just camp gone wild—his imagination let loose without much to rein it in. It might be best to just blow it up and start over.
Agency: Leo Burnett, Sydney
Agency Producer: Rita Gagliardi
Executive Creative Director: Andy DiLallo
Creative Director: Tim Green
Creative: Rupert Taylor
Director: Tom Kuntz
Director of Photography: Alwin Kuchler
Executive Producer: Jeff Scruton
Executive Producer: David Zander
Postproduction: The Mill, Los Angeles
Editing Company: MacKenzie Cutler
Editor: Gavin Cutler