Sometimes even in the professional life, there are curious coincidences.
While I was reading on The Drink Business the new SWA recommendations, the Scottish Whisky producers’ association, on the alcoholic beverages’ communication – more and more restrictive and oriented to promoting a more moderate consumption – and the sea of press releases against the Irish’s choice of putting the so-called “warnings” on the wines’ etiquettes my eye fell on Daniel Craig’s face who is advertising the popular Belvedere Vodka.
I then looked up the commercial on YouTube and and I found out that it was directed by the well-known, Academy Award winner director Taika Waititi.
Those who only know Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 will undoubtedly be shocked to witness the renowned English actor in a wholly ironic setting, performing even as a dancer. And, passing from a Rolls Royce, between one dance and the other, the great Daniel arrives in his luxury hotel room where, opening a futuristic fridge enveloped in iced for, he finds a vodka Belvedere bottle as if it was a treasure preserved in a precious chest. The actor takes the bottle opening it with a blitz (this time in full 007 mode) and he serves himself a glass while pronouncing one word only: “Finally”.
Nothing to say: it is absolutely a well-done advertisement, well-built and with a Craig that some could find far from his traditional interpretative style (but, those who watched Glass Onion – Knives Out on Netflix will not be so amazed by his new ironic turn and, comic even to some extent, of the popular English actor).
However, I do not want to linger on Craig’s performance, but rather on the complex alcoholic beverages’ communication topic.
If, on one hand, indeed, we have been pushing towards a more sober communication for a long time (at least on an institutional level), strongly oriented on limiting the alcohol abuse risks, advertisements like the one described above go into a completely opposite direction.
People see an advertisement like that, with a super fit Daniel Craig (he is 55-year-old, but physically he looks 20 years younger) who happily dances and, at the end, he drinks a great glass of vodka as if it was condensed fruit after two hours at the gym, and you realize you might have done everything wrong in your life by limiting a certain type of consumption.
Then I think it is right to try and consider this communication modality without prejudices and, let alone, moralizing crusades.
This advertising communication can be seen from two different perspectives.
The first one does not consider at all the message “drink responsibly” and lets us affirm that it is an absolutely perfect communication (according to me, obviously): an ideal testimonial connect James Bond’s reliability and safety with a laid-back style, with an almost irreverent and unreleased Daniel Craig. After all, James Bond can take the liberty of doing anything, also to exceed because he is someone who will never lose control.An equally perfect setting in a luxurious Paris and in a hotel where everyone would like to go, perhaps arriving there in a Rolls. Finally, the product, the vodka, which is presented as the final reward of an intense but absolutely fun day. In short, from this first perspective it emerges an absolutely winning communication capable of giving an ironic, engaging interpretation of the series: I am someone who deserves this kind of level vodka.
If we shift the perspective, keeping in mind the current “drink responsibly” topic, the evaluations, to some extent, change inevitably: the testimonial is still surely fitting, but it is also true that James Bond’s message, of him taking the liberty of doing anything, is dangerous considering real humans’ weaknesses. The setting is oriented to exclusivity, and we all know how attractive this is, often in a subtle and illusionary way. Finally, the product (vodka, in this case), is the final prize for a day which for Craig was surely fun but for many other humans is often depressing.
What to do? In an ideal world, there is no doubt that there should be absolute freedom for people to choose about their own lives, paradoxically, they should be free to choose which substance to abuse of. The same horrific messages and images put on cigarettes packets in a “totally free” society, should be removed.
However, there are civil responsibilities, those that go beyond the personal sphere and involve the whole collective, starting by younger generations and weaker population’s ranges (especially regarding psychological weaknesses which involve an elevate number of people at a global level=.
In light of what was written above, it is clear that we cannot imagine a world without advertisements and I do not consider the suppression of alcoholic beverages’ commercial communication the right path to follow. But it is undeniable that a serious consideration is due, without fearing how to communicate “potentially dangerous” products to consumers all around the world.
Anyone who has different levels of responsibilities (myself included) regarding alcoholic beverages’ communication, needs to feel involved daily in this consideration.