Smirnoff Urges, ‘Drink Intelligently’

NEW YORK A TV spot that breaks today for Smirnoff Ice Triple Black aims to promote the malt-beverage brand’s Nascar sponsorship while urging fans to “Drink intelligently.”

The 15- and 30-second versions of the commercial feature Nascar driver Matt Kenseth, who arrives at a house party in his Smirnoff Triple Black race car. Kenseth slides out of the window and reaches back into the car to grab a six-pack of the “malternative” beverage.

As he begins walking into the house, his pit crew rushes to the car and strips it of its tires and steering wheel. The car is placed on blocks, and the crew leaves as quickly as it emerged. Kenseth then points his remote-control key lock toward the car and locks the doors. As he continues to walk into the party, a graphic appears onscreen that reads, “Drink intelligently.”

The ad, by J. Walter Thompson in New York, is the second social-responsibility spot produced for Smirnoff. Another, titled “Congratulations,” broke in September of 2002 and featured a man congratulating his college buddy on his engagement and revealing too much information. “Knowing when to stop is a good thing,” a voiceover said. An earlier incarnation of the “Drink Intelligently” campaign showed a partygoer slashing his own tires before carrying a six-pack into a party. That aired in 2001.

The new spot will air nationally on primetime and late night broadcast networks and cable channels like the ESPN network, E! Entertainment Television and VH1. The work targets 21- to 25-year-olds, according to a Smirnoff representative. Radio and outdoor ads also break this week, the rep said.

Spending was not disclosed. When Smirnoff’s distributor, Diagio, launched the line extension in October 2002, sources said the brand would be backed by a $10 million campaign.