Bob Garfield has a lot to say when it comes to responsibility, as many of us know. He puts Grey NY up on a (deserved?) pedestal for their latest Captain Morgan responsible drinking spot, which you can check out above.
But when you’ve done work at NPR, you tend to get a little wordy. So I’ll share with you the point Garfield made that got me thinking most. The article covers the difficulty of maintaining the CM brand image while simultaneously promoting responsibility. In Grey’s case, it’s a job well done, Garfield says (and I agree).
“But, man, it’s expensive to devote, say, 5 (percent) of your ad budget to undo the other 95 (percent) — especially since the responsibility messages are typically lame, working directly against the edgy/sexy/macho/cool image you’ve spent years and fortunes trying to cultivate. In a perfect world, your do-gooder ads would not only be forceful, but they’d utterly and unhypocritically coincide with your image and therefore complement, not neutralize, your swig-our-firewater appeals.”
I’m sure groups like MADD disagree. After all, outwitting a sober guy after tossing back a few rum n cokes is a rare feat, more likely replaced with the two bar dudes drunkenly swerving home in their ’94 Taurus. Nonetheless, this all reminds me (somehow) of the fall of Joe Camel. The sweet, male-genitalia-esque character was not unlike the Captain. His products, like CM’s, were life-threatening, and as a result he was eventually stricken from airwaves, billboards and cocktail napkins alike.
A few years after Joe’s burial, the TRUTH campaigns began flooding screens — paid for by the very company that created the problem. So when will the end come for the Captain? Because as witty, cool, fun and responsible as the product may seem, people will still die after consuming too much of it. And no 30-second spot will ever change that.
Thoughts? Comment below or email me at email@example.com or IM, AgencySpy (Twitter that name, too).