Ketel One Vodka’s Funny Films From Barton F. Graf Go Down Smooth

A family affair

Ketel One offers a tipsy take on its quest for vodka perfection in this new campaign from Barton F. Graf.

The work consists mainly of self-consciously wacky "training videos," purportedly aimed at the next generation of the Nolet family, distillers for 325 years.

"Millennial consumers are looking for brands that have authentic stories and substance," Carl Nolet Jr., executive vice president of Ketel One, tells AdFreak. So, Ketel One is taking a page from whiskey advertising's playbook in order to relate to young adult consumers through tales of tradition and legacy.

"Everything must be done with meticulous attention to detail," Nolet says, "even when minor, because a legacy depends on it. Pressure makes diamonds. It also makes Ketel One."

This campaign contains some gems, including the first spot below, in which we learn that a Nolet family member must sign off on every batch of product:

That dapper white-haired dude is Ketel One chairman Carl Nolet Sr. Get the guy a self-inking endorsement stamp before his hand cramps up!

Nolet Sr. returns in a second ad, which frames the family heritage message in no uncertain terms:

Next, the brand's "tasting profiles" might just send tingles down your spine:

Golf? Sketching? No time for hobbies—it's all about the vodka and signing the family name, dammit:

Luckily for the staff at the plant, the townsfolk appear to have left their pitchforks at home in this spot:

All in all, it's an amusing approach in the patented Graf absurdist style, well suited to the brand's message and especially appealing because it doesn't take itself too seriously (yet delivers the tradition idea all the same).

That said, if the "training film" concept feels a bit forced, and maybe some of the executions try a tad too hard to please, well, nobody's perfect.

Check out more spots below, along with a VR tour of Ketel One's facilities in Schiedam, Holland.


Brand: Ketel One Vodka

Campaign: "You Don't Understand, It Has to Be Perfect"

Client: Diageo North America

Diageo leads: James Thompson, Alex Tomlin, Rodrigo David Ortigosa

Agency: Barton F. Graf

Founder/Chief Creative Officer: Gerry Graf

Group Creative Director: Nick Kaplan, Nate Naylor

Copywriter: Richard Langhorne, Mark Bielik

Art Director: Zack Madrigal, Ross Fletcher

Head of Production: Josh Morse

Producer: Erica Kahr

Account Director: Yvette Ames

Strategy Director: Deepa Sen

Production Co.: Canada/The Directors Bureau

Directors: Canada – Nicolás Mendez, Lope Serrano

Executive Producer, Managing Director: Oscar Romagosa

Executive Producer: Marta Argullós

Executive Producer/Head of Production, The Directors Bureau: Elizabeth Minzes

Edit: Rock Paper Scissors

Editor: Carlos Arias

Mix: Heard City

Mixer/Sound Designer: Evan Mangiamele

Color: Company 3

Colorist: Sofie Borup

Talent: Olaf Malmberg

Recommended articles