Ad of the Day: Wild Turkey

Bourbon brings back 'Give 'em the bird' for its first national TV spot

Oh, Wild Turkey.

The bourbon started this "Give 'em the bird" thing not too terribly long ago with an online ad featuring a beautiful woman flipping off a bar mate. Turns out she's just ordering a shot of whiskey. (Funny, I've never seen anyone get a drink for making that gesture in a bar, although I have seen women flip off men who were staring at them. Apologies for the misunderstanding, ladies! Your shots are on the way!)

This turned into a minor scandal when the brand self-censored the spot by pixellating the gesture (fans of hard liquor liked the original version better). But it seems the campaign made enough of a cultural dent that Wild Turkey is now releasing this new, more family-friendly advertisement—its first national TV spot. In it, a young bartender, still glowing from a wordless flirtation with a pretty girl in the first few seconds, refuses to obey his grizzled boss's suggestion that he give a bald, leather-clad biker type the bird. Oh, the bird! We thought you meant the finger.

The directing in this ad is fine, although the copywriting is a little confused. The spot starts off with a happy-looking bartender and a cute girl and then heads off into biker territory. It feels a little like an ad that should contain one or the other, but not both. Perhaps this is part of a longer campaign, and we'll see the girl return eventually? It feels weirdly padded for a 30-second spot, but a cutdown to 15 seconds for shorter avails will probably be an easy one to make.

Here's my question: After enough of these advertisements, are we actually going to see people giving the International Sign of Goodwill to one another in a bid to look cool (because people on TV are automatically cooler than people not on TV) and get the bartender to serve the object of their derision a shot of bourbon?

This has the capacity to go very badly—possibly even rivaling the "How about a nice Hawaiian punch?" massacre of 1986.


Client: Wild Turkey

Agency: Fly Communications

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